Spoiler Warning for Ace Combat 7 Below!
Everybody suffers hardship in various forms during their lives. This last year especially, everybody has had to deal with varying trials. Some of us lost our jobs, and others lost family members. It’s pretty easy for us to get caught up in the adverse circumstances of our lives. People can become so consumed by the negative that any silver lining seems far off. Biblical heroes weren’t even immune from this treatment. Paul was jailed numerous times during his mission, and he lost his life. Jesus had to suffer at the cross for our salvation.
Joseph, whose story spans Genesis 37 through the rest of the book, was sold into slavery by his brothers and had to overcome many trials. It’s a striking tale that many find compelling to this day, and storytellers have written stories with similar themes ever since, including in video games. Oddly enough, Joseph’s story is mirrored quite closely by that of the character Trigger from Ace Combat 7.
Jealousy and Betrayal
Joseph’s story started when he was just a teenager. The Bible says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age.” (Genesis 37:3) Israel, because of this profound love, made Joseph a coat of many colors. Joseph had ten older brothers and one younger brother. It’s not hard to imagine the jealousy the older brothers felt because of this favoritism. Joseph also started to have prophetic dreams stating that his family would soon bow before him. His brothers became so jealous that they sold him into slavery, covering this up by creating a story about how Joseph was mauled to death by a wild animal.
Trigger’s story starts similarly. Trigger is a pilot with the Osean Air Defense Force, and he is very good at his job. He immediately shows the rest of his squadron his skills, and Trigger is instrumental in securing a few early victories in the war against Erusia. Trigger’s squadron gets called up to help rescue a former Osean president at a space elevator near the Erusian coast. Unfortunately, someone shoots down the former president’s plane. By a stroke of terrible luck, Trigger was the closest one to the rescue craft, and his superiors fingered him as the murderer.
After Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, he soon found himself working for Potiphar of Egypt. God blessed Joseph with high standing in Potiphar’s house, and Joseph quickly became a leader in household affairs. Potiphar’s wife, however, lusted after Joseph. Joseph, as a man of God, resisted her advances, and she exacted her revenge by claiming that Joseph raped her. Joseph became imprisoned, but God stayed by his side. Joseph gained favor in the eyes of the guards. When Pharoah threw his cupbearer and baker in jail, Joseph used these two imprisoned workers’ dreams to find who the culprit was in the crime, earning Pharaoh’s approval.
Trigger was also imprisoned despite being innocent. He continued to fly with the Spare Squadron, a squadron made up entirely of convict pilots. He used his skills to defend his unit and other allied pilots. Trigger’s achievements and bravery garnered him favor from his squadmates, and his superiors soon questioned his guilt. Trigger was cleared of wrongdoing and became the lead pilot of the Strider Squadron.
Becoming the Most Favored
Pharoah started to have odd dreams. Joseph interpreted these dreams to mean that a famine was going to strike Egypt and the surrounding area. He also stated that the dreams required the nation to stockpile food during the coming years of plenty for the following famine. Joseph continued to impress Pharoah because of these interpretations, who promoted him to the head of the food stores. During the famine, some of Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt multiple times for food. After some testing of his brothers, Joseph invited his whole family to Egypt to be with him. Pharoah granted Joseph’s family a sizeable area of land in Goshen to settle, and they survived the famine.
Trigger continued to develop his flying skills and fought in incredible battles. He flew against an onslaught of drones and even helped to destroy two initially unbeatable superplanes. As the story comes to the climax, Trigger undergoes a perilous mission against a pair of autonomous drones, chasing one through the dangerous tunnels of the space elevator and destroying it before it could transmit valuable data.
As Trigger flies from the elevator itself, the game treats us to audio logs from an Osean astronaut thanking the player for salvaging the space elevator, as this allowed her and her crew to return home from their mission. Trigger helped to finish the war with Erusia and prevent autonomous drone aircraft from continuing the fight indefinitely.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Trigger and Joseph both endured brutal hardships in their stories, yet both excelled in their situations. Trigger and Joseph both accomplished amazing things, and both saved many lives.
Today, Christians consistently hear feel-good messages about how God only cares about us and how He won’t give us anything we can’t handle. Christians quote verses out of context to push this feel-good message, like Jeremiah 29:11. While it is true that God loves us and wants what’s best for us, our lives are never guaranteed to be easy. The vast majority, if not all, of the biblical heroes suffered insane hardships. The common theme in these stories was that God used these hardships to help these folks grow to serve Him better. Joseph told his Brothers this very thing in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Our Small Window
It is not always possible to know why we are enduring any hardship. Humans, unfortunately, can only see the tiny vantage point that is our lives in the present and the past. We cannot know the future, and we may not know the effects of our actions beyond what we can see in the moment. Here is an example of a hardship that God used in a young man’s life.
This young man had recently completed paramedic school. He got a job working in a large city, a half-day drive from his hometown. There was an adjustment period for this young man, of course. However, after just a few months, his father passed away. This young man’s life became chaotic overnight. He had to move back home to help support his family and prepare for his father’s funeral. This man looked up to his father immensely, and this death weighed heavy on his heart. Indeed, nothing good could come from this event…or could it?
After about seven years since his father’s death, this young man married a beautiful woman and has a house, a stable job, and two magnificent puppies. He also just finished his bachelor’s degree and is applying to medical school. God used this tragic event to put this young man on a path. God has blessed this young man immensely in the last few years, and God will guide this young man where this man is needed most.
The Love of God
God cares about all of us, my brothers and sisters. He is with us during our lowest moments, and He is with us in our best of days. The Bible is full of stories of unique humans who overcame tremendous obstacles with God’s help. I urge you, my friends, to never give up hope in our God. I pray that you overcome whatever obstacles you face, and that God remains by your side through it all. Furthermore, I also encourage you to always keep an eye out for brothers and sisters going through hard times, and to pray for our churches and those facing all manner of trials. We can be a beacon of light in the darkest of nights to these folks.