I love how God surprises me when I least expect it.
Earlier last month, I was scrolling through Facebook, looking for a temporary escape from life because it had been a rough couple of weeks. While my intention was to find Haikyu!! memes to brighten my mood, I unexpectedly came across a clip from Jujustu Kaisen.
Now, I have to confess, I know nothing about this anime and manga. I’ve seen some of my favorite pinmakers do art that showcases their favorite characters, but I do not know what the story is about or anyone’s names.
Yet, when I made the choice to watch this quick clip of a fight between who I learned are Megumi and Sukuna, I was unprepared how that very fight would speak to me on a heart-level the next day.
(For those interested in watching the fight in reference, I was unable to find the clip I had originally watched, but it was roughly the first thirty seconds of this clip below.)
I was struck at how obvious it was that Megumi is giving his all in this fight, yet Sukuna is almost mocking his “defensive” moves. I became angry on the behalf of the ridiculed Megumi, but left it at that and continued on with my scrolling, not thinking much about the scene for the rest of the day.
However, that changed when I awoke from a dream the next morning where rather than Megumi fighting with his all, it was me who fighting with my all.
Not only that, but it was a demon who had replaced Sukuna.
Similar to Megumi, I missed every punch I was throwing at this demon. It seemed that nothing I was doing was working. It felt like I simply wasn’t fast enough or strong enough.
Unlike Sukuna, who almost appears as if he’s dancing with Megumi, every word this demon spewed hit its target: me.
Not only did his words have direct hits, but his weaponry knew where and when to strike to eventually leave me on my knees gasping and panting for breath. And even then, when I felt my weakest, the demon’s words didn’t stop. It just kept targeting all my insecurities, making me feel weaker and weaker until I couldn’t remember my purpose in even trying to fight this monster in the first place.
While that may appear as a dream that is vaguely reminiscent of the clip I watched, and it could even be said that my subconscious was just recalling it while I slept, I can’t help but feel like it goes much deeper than my brain bring up random things it saw on the internet that day.
You see, during that time all this took place, I had felt very battle ridden.
I was struggling with whether I was the kind of daughter my parents were proud of due to obligations I felt were expected, but which I could not fulfill.
I was struggling with wondering if I was a good enough friend who could help shine light into a close friend’s life as she struggled with depression (all the while dealing with resurfacing memories of how I “failed” in helping a different friend with a similar struggle years ago).
I was struggling that my routine—“my freedom” to go out—was gone in an instant as I watched my family vehicle get towed.
And as a result of all of these combined, I was struggling with my own growing darkness and depression that was trying to pull me under and say I was nothing but a failure and a letdown.
I woke up feeling a tangible restlessness that I couldn’t ignore. It was too personal for me to dismiss as a dream without a purpose, so I prayed and wrote down what I could remember.
It hit me while I was writing that this was more than just “a few bad days.”
No, this was an attack on my faith, and I had tried to fight with my own fists to rid the darkness hovering over me.
While I tried to stand my ground and wear the armor of God as the Bible encourages in Ephesians 6, somewhere in those weeks, I had laid down my shield and decided that I would use my fists “because surely it would get the job done.”
But it didn’t.
This was a battle for my faith, and this battle could not be won by my own strength.
While I admit I tend to shy away from paranormal reads and anime, watching this clip was a timely reminder for me that regardless if I wanted to shy away or not, spiritual warfare is a real thing. In the Old Testament, there is an account of a man witnessing the spiritual realm with his own eyes because a prophet prayed his eyes would be opened to see what our human eyes cannot.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
— 2 Kings 6:15-17
Who is to say that my own eyes were not opened but within a dream? That someone had been praying for my heart and eyes to be open to God?
Paul reminds us that we are not merely fighting against flesh and blood, but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
More often than not, I forget this, especially when life becomes difficult and overwhelming, and I have to remind myself to breathe.
But on that one day, when I was just mindlessly scrolling through social media, I stopped to watch a clip that would be a catalyst to remind me I’m not in this battle alone. I may be out of breath, weak, and bloody in this fight, but Jesus, our Champion (Hebrews 12:2) and our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), is fighting for me. He is in the midst of our battles and giving us strength when we would rather give up—even if for only a heartbeat—because it feels easier to give up than continue fighting.
That doesn’t mean our battles are any easier. But it does mean we have hope.
We have hope that even if we feel like a letdown to a family member, we are still called, “chosen and loved” (Ephesians 1:4).
We have hope that even if we can’t “save” anyone, God can save any who believe in His one and only Son (John 3:16).
We have hope that regardless of any circumstance, we are free in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17).
We have hope that even if darkness may try to pull us under, we have ultimately been called out of the darkness and into the light (1 Peter 2:9). We are indeed children of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
I may know nothing about Jujustu Kaisen and the future that awaits the characters, but as a child of God, I know my future, and it is full of victory, triumph, and joy.
Even when my arms are quivering from the long battle, and it’s hard to even stand, I can take a deep breath and know that Jesus is right there with me. We can call upon His name and know that the Ultimate Victor, King Jesus, will step in and defeat any evil that may come across our path.
If you’re feeling like the battle is too long, too exhausting, I encourage you to remember that it is the Lord Himself who fights for you (Deuteronomy 1:30).
And not only that, as family members in Christ, we stand with you and can help lend our hands, our strength, our prayers until you feel you can get back on your feet and continue fighting.
Stand strong and cling to hope, battle warrior. This fight isn’t over, but hope is not lost.
Our Champion fights for us.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
—1 Timothy 6:12