Knowing Who Wins: Lessons from Infinity War
If you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, I highly recommend you do. I also recommend you stop reading this post until you do, unless you’re a fan of SPOILERS. Consider yourself warned.
So, if you’re one of the few who hasn’t seen the movie yet and continued to read, here’s what you need to know. Thanos, ultra bad guy, is trying to obtain all the Infinity Stones, which would give him infinite power. The stones are the mind stone, the reality stone, the power stone, the space stone, the time stone, and the soul stone. Kind of covers all the bases. Each of these stones gives him total power over that thing. Obtaining all of the stones would make him omnipotent. Thanos has already wiped out a few planets and things like that, so he is not messing around. The very existence of the universe is threatened. Earth’s mightiest heroes (as well as some from around the galaxy), the Avengers, are all that stand between Thanos and mass destruction. Things are not going so hot for the Avengers, as fighting against near-omnipotence turns out to be about as hard as would be expected. That was really to be expected when Thanos swatted the Hulk away like a pesky fly within the first five minutes of the movie. I learned very quickly to be very terrified of Thanos.
14 Million Outcomes
The Avengers refuse to give up, holding onto that last glimmer of hope. And when I say last, boy, do I mean the very last. Various heroes have attempted to defeat Thanos, but none of them have been able to prevail. While one team of heroes is planning, Doctor Strange starts to act a bit...strange. The sorcerer finishes whatever it is he was doing and informs his fellow heroes that he had travelled through time to see all the possible outcomes of this war against Thanos. There were 14 million possible outcomes. He is asked in how many of them they win.
A one in 14 million chance of winning.
I am not so good at math, but I can tell you these odds are not great.
And now here’s some mega spoilers with some speculations for Infinity War Part 2. Doctor Strange has seen all the possible endings. He also knows what leads to each of those endings, meaning he knows what it takes to get to that One. Heroes are dropping all around them, the battle is quite clearly lost, and Thanos demands the time stone from Strange. Strange gives it to him, completing his infinity stone quest, on the condition that Tony Stark lives. Perhaps keeping all of the stones out of Thanos’s hands wasn’t the key to his defeat, but Iron Man might be?
Knowing the End
Knowing the end and what it will take to get there, makes the journey a lot less stressful. Not that Strange wasn’t feeling stressed, but at least he knew there was still hope. It is so easy to become stressed about the unknown. We’re human and we like to be in control and know how things are going to end. But how often do things actually play out exactly as we envisioned them? We don’t know the end. But God does. What may seem like a detour to us, may be a necessary path for God to get us where we’re going. What seems like two steps back for us, is actually necessary for God to move us forward.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Things may seem like a disaster now, but God is busy working things out to His end. His end, not our end. Sometimes even when things end, they still seem like a disaster to us. Take this story of Stephen. He is fearlessly declaring the word of God, and the religious leaders are not fans of what he is saying.
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” – Acts 7:55-56 NIV
This causes the religious leaders to drag him out of town and stone him to death. Not exactly what we would classify a good, non-disastrous end. Yet he was able to die at peace, because he knew how the story ended. It didn’t end with his death – it ended with Jesus being alive and reigning in heaven at the right hand of God.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” – Revelation 21:3-8 NIV
As Christians, we may not know how a particular situation in our lives is going to end. But we are part of a spiritual battle, and we do know exactly how that is going to end. We don’t have to wonder who will be victorious. We don’t have to aim for that one in 14 million chance. The end is guaranteed. God wins. Life may be hard now, but there will be only good things when God makes His dwelling place among us. The greatest good thing will be just that – God will be with us. We get to hang out in His presence all the time.
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. – Revelation 22:3 NIV
In Avengers: Infinity War and in our own lives, evil seems to pose a very real threat. Sometimes it even seems like evil has won. But we know that it has not. We know how the war ends. It ends with God on the throne.
There is a spiritual battle going on all around us that we are a part of. Inevitably, there are some not so good things that happen in war. But just because we’ve taken some losses, that does not mean we’ve lost. All that means is that it’s not over. We know how it’s all going to end. Evil will be utterly defeated, God will reign over all, and we will be with Him. That’s the end.
Have you seen Infinity War? What did you think? Predictions for Part 2?