Paradoxology by Krish Kandiah, Free for CAPC Members
Paradoxology provides an apologetic for uncertainty and a defense of discomfort.
It was with a combination of exhilaration and grief that I watched Ahsoka Tano cross lightsabers with her old master in the Star Wars Rebels season two finale. This was the moment I’d been waiting for after watching Ahsoka grow up in The Clone Wars and squealing at her reappearance in Star Wars Rebels.
It did not disappoint.
From the declaration that she is “no Jedi,” to the stunning, deadly dance that makes Ezra’s attempt to fight Vader look like a kid waving a stick at a rancor, the fight is breathtaking. But the most stirring moment occurs when Ahsoka cuts off part of Vader’s mask and realizes it really is her old master underneath. She declares, “I won’t leave you. Not this time.” Vader’s response: “Then you will die.”Why should I trust a God who lets me go through such things? Why should I believe that God’s got me covered?
This scene is so moving to someone who has followed Ahsoka’s journey so far because it speaks loudly of betrayal and lost trust. Ahsoka left the Jedi Order years previous because they betrayed her, but she also betrayed her master’s trust by doing so. Her attempt to make up for that now is futile because Anakin doesn’t seem to be a part of Vader any more. Trust has been broken and it will never be restored.
If you’re like me, you find trusting others difficult. This comes from the experience of being let down by the people you care about. If there’s a strong possibility of getting hurt, why bother trusting anyone in the first place? Look at what happened to Ahsoka when she trusted the Jedi Order. Look at what happened to Anakin when he trusted Palpatine.
The finale also introduced a hint of foreboding and dark side temptation when Ezra meets Maul and decides to trust him. At first, Ezra is wary of the random stranger who won’t show his face and says he knows the way into the Sith temple. Smart, Ezra. Smart. When Maul asks, “Do you not trust me?” Ezra replies, “I don’t know you.” But then he allows the guy to lead him away from his friends into a dangerous temple that requires Sith powers to open it.
To be fair, I wasn’t quite sure about Maul at first, either. I love a redeemed character arc as much as the next person, and Maul had been burned enough by the Sith that maybe he really had changed. But then he gives Ezra advice as they open the way into the temple: “Your anger is a wellspring; you must use it… your passions give you strength, through strength you gain power… you must break your chains.” If Ezra knew more about Jedi and Sith lore, he would recognize that Maul is almost directly quoting the Sith Code. Yeah, something told me Maul hadn’t changed. Not one bit.
But Maul saves Ezra’s life, his teachings are tempting, and by the finale’s end he has Ezra’s complete trust. I have a feeling Maul will be back in season three, and Ezra will come to regret his faith in him.
So if this is what might happen, why should I ever put my trust in other people? This alternative is exemplified by Maul himself. Maul doesn’t trust anyone. And I mean anyone. I don’t believe he even trusted his old master; Sith seem to have a habit of turning on each other, after all. And look at him now. Alone. Forgotten. Friendless. Full of anger and hatred for both the Sith and the Jedi.
Is that what happens when you never open yourself up to another human being? Never believe in someone other than yourself?
The crew in Star Wars Rebels wouldn’t work without trust. They believe in each other and it’s how they survive. When Kanan finds Ezra while Ahsoka and Vader are fighting, they have to pull the Sith holocron out of the temple together. Ezra has to direct a blinded Kanan on what to do. This is just a small demonstration of a relationship founded on trust, and what can be achieved when you let someone else guide you.
If trusting a human is difficult because they can make mistakes or betray you, then, by default, trusting in a perfect God should be easy, right? Wrong.
Despite the fact that my brain knows God is perfect and deserves my complete trust, I can’t help but question Him when things go wrong in my life. I am constantly asking, “Why? When? How? I must know and if you don’t tell me, God, then I refuse to believe things will be alright! So there.”
Plus, there’s that matter of God never promising my life would be perfect. In fact, He says just the opposite. I will have troubles, frustrations, and trials (John 16:33). Why should I trust a God who lets me go through such things? Why should I believe that God’s got me covered?
Kanan is blinded while fighting Maul in the season two finale. Maul then tosses him aside to focus on fighting Ahsoka. Ahsoka leaps away, and Maul taunts, “Running away again, lady Tano?” She replies, “If you want to finish our fight, you’ll have to deal with him first.” Then she leaps away to go find Ezra.
Maul turns to discover Kanan back on his feet, and though he has lost his vision, he is holding a lightsaber at the ready. Ahsoka demonstrates complete trust in Kanan by leaving even though he’s injured. Kanan shows complete trust in the Force by getting up to fight again.
Kanan is in pain. He’s blind. He’s scared for Ezra. There’s so much psychological trauma happening here. But he stands calmly in the face of Maul’s threat (“I will make this quick”), listens to the Force, blocks Maul’s attacks, and throws him over the edge of a steep drop where Maul plummets to his… well, let’s get real here: Maul’s obviously not dead. (But man, does that guy fall off stuff a lot.)
That level of trust in the Force that Kanan demonstrates reminds me of some of the crazy trust stories in the Bible, like when Daniel goes into the lion’s den, or when Joshua goes into a land of giants and tells the Israelites it’s no big deal — they can totally take the land with God on their side.
Trusting that God has my back isn’t easy. Maybe it should be, but I have to fight to do so through difficult times. I often forget that He’s working on my behalf to bring me justice. Sometimes it’s to my advantage to be blinded; I can remember that trust doesn’t make me weak, it makes me strong.
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