“I’ve Been Dead Before.”

When facing an intimidating challenge, attitude is the key to victory. At the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the crew of the Enterprise are trying to stop an assassination at the Khitomer Accords that would undo an attempt to create a peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. However, there is a Klingon bird of prey that has the ability to fire while cloaked in their way. While trying to figure out how to save the day once again, Scotty bursts out dejectedly, “We’re dead.” Spock swiftly responds, “I’ve been dead before.” This is a reference to how he died at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and is brought back to life in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The fact that Spock’s body survives it’s crash landing on the Genesis planet is amazing enough and that the Genesis wave revives his body is remarkable. However, just as remarkable is the lengths that Spock’s comrades go to retrieve Spock, including defying Starfleet orders, stealing and destroying the Enterprise. So Spock knows, as he has often said, that “there are always possibilities.” Time and again, he and the rest of the his crew mates faced situations where they were up against enormous odds, but by working together a solution would be found. Everyone, including Spock, knew this. So when faced with General Chang’s ruthless determination to prevent peace becoming a reality by use of an apparently unbeatable bird of prey, the crew of the Enterprise is not about to give up. As he usually does, Spock comes up with a solution, a torpedo that tracks gas emissions from the enemy ship. The torpedo works, Chang’s ship is destroyed and the assassination attempt is foiled at the last minute. Thus this particular crew of the Enterprise is given one last hurrah before their beloved ship is decommissioned and we see the last Star Trek film with the entire original television series cast give a celluloid “curtain call” with their signatures flashed across the screen.

It is important to note that the there is a great deal of work the God wants to do through Body of Christ before the devil cast is into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Afterwards, we will eternally worship and applaud our Lord for His love and mercy. I feel fairly confident to say that as we worship Him, we will remember all the times we witnessed God’s mighty power at work in our lives. “Amazing Grace” beautifully describes this privilege with the words, “When we have been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise then when we’ve first begun.” It is fitting that this song was chosen for Spock’s funeral in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. John Newton faced his own Kobayashi Maru test where he was forced to examine himself. He worked in the slave trade and was once described as, “one of the most profane men the captain had ever met” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace 5/3/15). However, during a horrible storm, Newton called out to God to save him, even though he had mocked God and those who served Him. His life was spared and this caused him to consider the state of his soul and if God’s grace could “save a wretch like me.” He realized that he was dead, so just as he called out to God to save his life, he asked God to save his soul and much like the Genesis wave restored Spock’s body, God’s grace breathed resurrection into Newton’s spirit, bringing forth the new birth. And like Spock, he could tell all who met him, “I’ve been dead before”  In time, Newton would denounce the slave trade and fight for its abolition and would write “Amazing Grace,” which to this day continues to inspire people to look past their own weaknesses and failings to the goodness and mercy of God.

So where does that leave us? Is any of us facing a Kobayashi Maru test, an apparently no win situation? We can try to change the test and cheat death, or we can face the test up front and turn to the One Who said, “[t]he things that are impossible with people are possible with God” (Luke 18:27 NASB). We can turn that problem over to Him. He may ask us to lay down our lives so that He can give us a new life in Him. He may ask us to give up a few meals to fast and pray over the situation. No matter what He asks of us, if we will believe and be obedient, we will see the victory. We will see life where there was apparent lifelessness and we will be able to praise Him for the victory that His grace provided. Thus when we are faced with the next challenge (and there will be a next challenge, trust me), like Newton and Spock, we will be able to proclaim in the devil’s face, “I’ve been dead before.”

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