I have just finished listening to the third audio book of the series The Hunger Games. I can see how this narrative can really become addicting. The story-telling has a very classic Greek mythology feel, which the author admits to at the end of the book in her reflections. If you know this style, you will know that there is no happy ever after; all Greek heroes are tragic. In Jason and the Argonauts our hero finds the Golden Fleece with the help of the beautiful but fierce princess Medea, who becomes his wife and mother of his two children. But this is not the end of Jason’s story. Greeks have a way of displaying the pessimistic and realistic side to a story because the reality is that bad things happen to everybody. Why should heroes have it any other way, right? It isn’t long before Jason loses interest in Medea and leaves her to marry another princess in order to form an alliance with the King of Corinth. Long dramatic story made short: Medea flips out, kills her own kids and a ton of other people, and Jason’s life is brought to ruin just like Medea’s. Greek tragedies never end well.
Okay, back to The Hunger Games. You are Katniss Everdeen. You live in a post-apocalyptic state in North America and you are a part of a dictatorship/caste system broken down into twelve districts. (There used to be thirteen districts but one of them rebelled and was destroyed.) In order to keep people from rebelling again, a bizarre form of entertainment is created in which kids fight in an arena to the death, one boy and one girl from each district, 24 in all. So, just like the Romans, we have the Colosseum where brutal violence was part of entertainment as well as discipline.
As the story unfolds, you quickly see a doomed world in which control is the main issue. The Hunger Games themselves are just a metaphor that people are always in the arena and the game is never over. Whether your role is surviving, attacking, defending, or protecting, you are still a playing piece in this massive game of life and no matter what, you will eventually lose.
The participants are left with the final understanding that you must make the best of what you are given and keep playing the game. But “Do your best” is never good enough and so how can we be satisfied with this answer? Katniss was not satisfied either; she was waiting for a savior, but that never happened in her world.
Thank God, in our world a Messiah and Savior has come and he is the ultimate game designer, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). Think about it—the reason the world is so grim and lethal is because we have given into our sins. This arena we live in is full of traps, love of money, sexual identity confusion, idolatry, greed, immorality, and self-indulgence. You name it, we as a society have done it. On a personal level, we make excuses for ourselves and point at the greater sinners in the world, but the reality is that whether it’s a big sin or a little sin, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
But God cares about us and is not willing to let us go on in our misery and self-destruction, He offers us real hope. President Snow recognized that “The only thing greater than fear is hope.” He also recognized that “A little bit of hope is good. Too much hope is dangerous” to his maintaining control.
God doesn’t want to control you — He wants to fill you with hope and show you how much he loves you. That’s why he sent his one and only Son to die for our sins and to restore us to himself.
Jesus stepped into the Hunger Games of our lives, challenging the status quo. By carrying the weight of all our sins on his shoulders, he took sin to the grave. Finally, he broke free from death itself enabling us “in his power” to be victorious in the game of life. All we have to do is trust in His sacrifice for us.
With Jesus, the odds of eternal life are always in your favor. Don’t give up hope and don’t fear. Rebel against the world system and ask Jesus to save you from your sins.