Zelda’s Prayer: A Testimony

[WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!]

Romans 1:20 tells us that God’s truth is present deep in the mind, heart, and soul of all humans, and we constantly see this manifest in secular creative activity. An integral part of Geeks Under Grace’s mission includes pointing out ways in which the worlds and narratives that have us “geeking out” draw inspiration from the Christian faith. This time, I want to flip that on its head, and show how the narrative of Zelda’s faith journey in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild inspired my own Christian faith, rather than the other way around.

If you haven’t played Breath of the Wild and are still reading this, here is what you need to know. The game begins with Zelda’s guardian, Link, awakening 100 years after the evil Ganon attacked Link’s homeland of Hyrule. Up to that point, Link travels with Zelda throughout Hyrule on a journey to prevent this attack. Zelda’s bloodline is one with magical powers, and it is her duty to awaken that power—the power to seal Ganon away—before it is too late. She and Link travel to a variety of holy sites to pray to the gods that she might unlock this power.

In one flashback scene, Zelda is offering such prayers in front of a spirit statue at the Spring of Power. Or rather, it begins as a prayer, but quickly turns to a vent of frustration (the video starts at the right moment):


I come seeking help…

regarding this power that has been handed down over time…

Prayer will awaken my power to seal Ganon away…

Or so I’ve been told all my life…

And yet…

Grandmother heard them – the voices from the spirit realm…

And Mother said her own power would develop with in me…

But I don’t hear… or feel anything!

Father has told me time and time again…

He always says, “Quit wasting your time playing at being a scholar!”

Curse you…

I’ve spent every day of my life dedicated to praying!

I’ve pleaded to the spirits tied to the ancient gods…

And still the holy powers have proven deaf to my devotion.

Please just tell me…

What is it…?

What’s wrong with me!?

And then the scene fades away as Zelda begins to sob. This scene hit me like a ton of bricks, because it was exactly how I felt at the time I played the game. Two years ago, my wife and I independently and clearly felt the call from God to adopt, and the call to begin that journey prompted immediate action; we were not to delay. We obeyed, putting our own family planning on hold.

Two years later, we have had three failed adoption matches, and our nearly 4-year-old daughter continues to grow up without the best friend we wanted for her. Comparing yourself is often unwise, but we can’t help it. We look at those who have had successful placements and wonder what they have that we don’t. Pregnancy announcements from friends bring us sadness when they should bring us joy. What is it…? What is wrong with us that makes us an undesirable family?

I continued to ponder this scene, and I began to think about my students at Taylor University. How many times have I heard this same refrain?

www.finnichang.com

My [parent] was a [teacher/engineer/doctor/etc.]…

So was my [grandparent]…

The skill will develop with in me…

Or so I’ve been told all my life…

And my [other parent] always says, quit playing at being a [career I actually want]…

Curse it all…

I’ve spent every day of my life dedicated to this path!

I’ve pleaded with God to help me…

And still He proves deaf to my devotion.

Please just tell me…

What is it…?

What’s wrong with me!?

Being a professor requires you not only to be a scholar, teacher, and performer, but also a counselor. I have seen many a tear shed in my office, and I often have students on the verge of breaking down. I emphasize to these students that their identity is in Christ, not in academics. I also encourage them to pray. Then they tell me that, like Zelda, and like me, they are already praying fervently. So what’s wrong?

Recently, I was reminded that Jesus rarely answers a yes/no question with a yes or no. Rather, he responds with a story. Why should we expect prayer to be any different? The answer to your prayer is rarely, if ever, a yes or no, but rather, the story God has laid out for you. When counseling these students in my office, I am trying to see past what happened in that last moment that led them to my office. I am trying to see the bigger story God is telling through them. That is almost always where the answer lies.

It’s also why so much of the Bible itself are (true) stories. I used to misunderstand Corinthians 10:13 (“God will not give you more than can handle”) and think it referred to what God asks of us, not temptation. Instead, God asks us much more than what we think we can handle. Abraham is asked to sacrifice his only son. Jesus asks his disciples to give up everything and follow Him. Even Jesus himself is given a cup that He asks to be taken away (Luke 22:42). Obedience to God is sacrificial.

Fortunately, we can take solace in Zelda’s story. It is perhaps not when Zelda believes it was the right time, but in the gods’ timing—in God’s timing—when she too is past what she thinks she could handle, her power awakens. I recognize that Breath of the Wild is written by Japanese video game developers, not God, but again, the truth is on the hearts of all men, so I am not surprised that they know how the story goes. It’s the same story I hear from nearly every chapel speaker. When the darkness could not seem to get any darker, God showers them with a radiance that they never could have imagined.

When you are in the darkest part of your own story, like I am, remember that this story is the answer to your prayers, and it’s not over yet.

 

 

Derek Thompson

I've been a board game reviewer since 2011. I love card-driven games and party games. I have a Ph.D. in Mathematics and teach the subject at Taylor University in Upland, IN. My wife and kids are my favorite gaming partners.

4 Comments

  1. Derek Thompson on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I can now share with anyone reading this: the day this was posted, we got the call for an adoption match, and signed the next day. Baby is in the NICU but is doing well. She is beautiful. God is good.

  2. JK Riki on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Well said! Thanks for this, it was a great thing to sit and think about. Prayers for the journey towards future parenthood for you, too!

  3. Carissa Norris on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    This is so encouraging to me! I have been going through something very hard for a few years now. I love the fact that my life is a story and Jesus is working my story out. Thank you so much!

    • Derek Thompson on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      I am glad! Praying over your hardships.

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