In case you did not read the title of the blog, if you have not seen the two latest installments of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), which are Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp, you should not read this blog. For one, it will spoil the contents of the movie. And two, you won’t really understand what I’m talking about in this blog anyway.
My family loves the Marvel movies. So, when Ant-Man and the Wasp came out, we immediately got tickets at our local Alamo. It’s a little taste of Austin in DFW. The movie is awesome. Mostly, it’s hilarious. But it’s also got a decent story and character interaction. If you’ve seen the Marvel movies, which you should have if you are still reading, then you know that you always stay until the lights come up. There is usually a bonus scene in the middle of the credits and another at the end. So… we have thoroughly enjoyed this movie. We have laughed and laughed. And the good guys win in the end, even redeeming the bad guy! The credits roll and we have had an awesome time. And then there is the bonus scene in the middle of the credits.
AVENGERS SPOILER ALERT! At the end of the previous movie, Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos snapped his fingers and wiped out half the population of the universe. Of course, we were mostly concerned with the fact that he wiped out half of the stars of the movies we have come to love. Spider-Man: gone. Black Panther: gone. Groot: gone. Dr. Strange: gone. It was a devastating end to the movie. Well, devastating is a little strong. That should probably be saved for real life and real people. But it was a tough end to a movie. So we are left waiting for the next Avengers movie in May of 2019 to find out what happens.
ANT-MAN SPOILER ALERT! So we are peacefully, even enjoyably watching the credits of Ant-Man, having completely loved the movie, when the credits scene starts. All the stars of the movie are finally together working on a new project. Everyone is happy and laughing, the characters and the audience. And then, suddenly, three of the characters: gone. Floating away as the moth trash pieces Thanos left behind. We were all shocked. Everyone in the whole theater. How could this be happening? After we laughed so much?
If you are still reading, you actually should have known all this. In fact, you probably knew where I was going as soon as I started. However, I had to explain the story for all you rule-breakers who read this even though you haven’t seen the movies.
So we sat there shocked that something so sad and so dark could come at the end of something so joyful. As I’ve thought about that over the last few weeks, I have felt that we often do that with life, especially as Christians. We are shocked when hard things happen, when suffering hits. How could this be happening when we’ve been through something so good? But the truth is that the Bible is quite clear that being a believer does not grant us a free pass from suffering. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Paul and Peter talk quite a lot about suffering. Paul says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12. And not only His followers, but Jesus Himself says, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple,” in Luke 14:27. And then, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33). In the world you will have tribulation. You will have. Not you may have. Not you will have if you’re bad. Rich Mullins paraphrased it like this, “There’s bound to come some trouble to your life.”
So, I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to avoid sin. I’m not saying we shouldn’t call out things that are wrong. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be surprised when we suffer. I knew how the story went, so I shouldn’t have been surprised at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp. But in my laughter, I forgot. The good news is that in our story, we know more of the end of the story. We may guess at the future of the Marvel Universe, but we know God wins. We know that whatever we go through, our God is faithful and true. So be encouraged. Don’t be surprised. I don’t think this makes suffering easier, but it puts it in context.