Do Christians Ever Face Kobayashi Maru?

From a prior post (or two), you might remember that I am a die-hard fan of the Star Trek series, preferably the old one. I’ve watched most of the episodes, seen just about every movie but the first two as they were released in theaters, and read every book set in that world.

One of the hardest concepts for me was the Kobayashi Maru. Everyone studying at Starfleet Academy had to take this test. It was designed to analyze the character and constitution of each cadet as they navigated a no-win scenario. Only one cadet ever passed the test according to fan lore and some vague references, and that was because he cheated! The way a cadet handled this test determined his future, including what track he was on and the color of his shirt (redshirts usually don’t last more than one episode, except for Scotty).

As a writer and thinker, I always saw the Kobayashi Maru was an exaggeration of life. There are situations that we all face where no one seems to win: the cancer diagnosis, the missed promotion, the family dinners that turn into skirmishes, the lack of love connection.

But does a real Christian ever face a real Kobayashi Maru, a true no-win scenario?

The real answer is no. A real Christian never has a no-win scenario. Whether we live or die, all we do is to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ.

Have a cancer diagnosis? If it’s terminal, you’ll soon see Jesus face to face, and the troubles of this world will fade away. If you face chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you have struggles to face that can sharpen your perseverance and faith, and if you face them with joy and gratitude, you can brighten the lives of those around you, including medical professionals who might see tragedy day in and day out in a way that makes them feel empty or jaded or calloused.

Miss that promotion? God may have some lessons still in store for you to learn in your current position, and if you do it with a good attitude, you show submission to the authority God has placed in your life, your manager, who is most like the slave owners in Paul’s epistles. Or God may be preparing a new opportunity for you, full of new people to meet and share His love with.

Relationships (family or love partner) not going well? Maybe God has placed you in their lives to love them with His perfect, unfailing love as closely as you can imitate it. Or maybe God intends to lead you to the depths of your own heart for a ruthless seek and destroy mission, searching for all those areas where you’ve not submitted to Him or where you don’t have the mind of Christ Jesus.

Even in a prison (physical, emotional, or spiritual), a real Christian knows that God is in control and that His Will is supreme. Joy is the order of the day, and we rejoice always in the God of our salvation.

The world may see a Kobayashi Maru in your situation. And that’s okay–they are not at your place in the journey. The reality is that until the day we die every tough situation is a place where we can choose to have the attitude and actions of Christ with grace and contentment. On the day we die, we will have a crown of victory and eternal happiness.

In the end, the real Christian always wins… because Christ’s life, death, and resurrection purchased that victory for us.


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