Welcome to week 3 of our “I heart Japanese Monsters Month!” If you’d like to check out all of our I Heart Japanese Monsters articles/devotionals, click the “I heart Japanese Monster Month logo below.

This week’s devotional is based on Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. Gamera is a very popular Kaiju series that has, at times, rivaled Godzilla’s fandom. In Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, ancient beasts called Gyaos have risen and have begun attacking and eating people. At the same time, Gamera, a beast created by an ancient race, has awakened to defend the world from this winged terror. During the film, you discover that a teenaged girl named Asagi has formed a type of psychic connection with Gamera. She knows his thoughts, and she knows his feelings, she knows his pain. The connection is so strong that when Gamera receives a cut on his arm, Asagi receives a similar wound on her own arm.

At one point, her father asks her a very blunt question; “Why must you suffer with him?” What was her reasoning? She needed to suffer along with him because she knew it was the only way to save the world. The end result was worth the pain for her.

In the scriptures, there is a passage about sharing in the suffering of Jesus. It’s found in 1 Peter, specifically verses 12 and 13:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

As Christians, we are commanded to share the Gospel with others. Not that we are the ones saving them, but simply to present the Gospel. When that Gospel is shared with someone who isn’t a Christian, there’s now tension. The tension is between their flesh and their spirit, man. Sometimes amid that tension, people will lash out and that lashing out may be focused on you. Keep in mind, unless you were a complete jerk in your presentation of the Gospel, their issue is with Jesus, but you being the one standing in the gap for this individual is the one present for this person.

Peter understood this; he had experienced all kinds of persecution in his day. His encouragement to us was that we shouldn’t be surprised when persecution comes but rejoice in the end result of the work of Christ—seeing our loved ones come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord is worth every moment. No, it’s not easy, yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s worth it.