Last June I took Cole, Chase, and my nephew Cody to see Kung Fu Panda 2 in the theater.
It’s a funny, action-packed, feel-good movie that we really enjoyed, and when the movie came out on DVD we bought it for our boys for Christmas. It continues the story of Po, the happy, hefty Panda who’s now officially the Dragon Warrior and, along with the Furious Five, serves as guardian of the Valley of Peace.
But a few minutes into the movie Po’s Kung Fu mentor, Master Shifu, tells Po that he needs to find “inner peace” in order to be a true Kung Fu master.
Po is brimming with questions about inner peace, and he watches in awe as the petite Kung Fu master carefully – and oh, so peacefully – manipulates a tiny, glistening drop of rain.
Inner peace. It’s the ultimate prize that every person searches for. It’s a prize found only in a Person.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~ Jesus, John 14:27
Near the end of the movie there’s a pivotal scene where the wise old goat soothsayer tells Po what he’s been desperate to hear – that his parents gave him away because they loved him and were trying to keep him safe, not because they didn’t want him. Upon learning this knowledge Po finally experiences true inner peace. He’s released from the painful burden of rejection that haunted him for years.
At last, Po can fully embrace his role as the Dragon Warrior!
When Po faces his foe Lord Shen – the pointy-beaked, squinty-eyed, cannonball-happy peacock protagonist – they trade Kung Fu moves as quickly as they fire off questions about peace.
How did you do it? How did you find peace? I took away your parents, everything. I scarred you for life! ~ Lord Shen
“That’s the thing, Shen. Scars heal.” ~ Po
“No they don’t. Wounds heal.” ~ Lord Shen
“Oh, yeah. What do scars do? They fade, I guess?” ~ Po
“I don’t care what scars do.” ~ Lord Shen
“You’ve got to let go of the past because it just doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now.” ~ Po
Po tells Lord Shen that he has to let go of the past in order to obtain peace in his future. I cringed in my relatively comfortable movie theater seat, my heart tight at Po’s worldly, empty words.
No, no, no, Po. It’s Jesus.
It’s about knowing Jesus, asking Him for forgiveness for our sin and acknowledging our need for a Savior. We can’t obtain peace on our own by who we choose to be now. We can only experience inner peace through Who we choose to know.
After all, Po was given a free ticket to easy peace – he found out he was wanted, loved. But some people won’t get a release from a difficult, painful, lonely past. Some people are never given the assurance that they were loved or wanted by parents, family members or friends.
Jesus gives that blessed assurance.
He provides that release from a painful past and faithless family and friends, and through God’s word we are given that blessed assurance of loving care. We’re loved so much that the Father gave the Son for our eternal sake!
Oswald Chambers said, “when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words He speaks are always ‘spirit, and they are life’ (John 6:63).”
The world offers bits and pieces of peace, frustrating pieces that are transient and indefinite. Ever-changing, unsustainable. But Jesus is the same, “yesterday, today, and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8), and His peace is complete and fulfilling.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33