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The Benevolent Hands that Guide Malevolent Hands: Gospel Reflections on GOTG 3 – Part 3

This is part 3 of a 3-part series of Gospel reflections on GOTG3. If you’ve read the first 2 parts you’ve seen how grief and trauma can damage a person’s sense of self and worth (Part 1) and how it is essential to understand that our pain doesn’t negate our ability to be of good to others, that in fact it is our pain that guides us to purposeful work (Part 2). In this final section we will look at what for me was the most profound point in the movie: understanding how we understand (and trust) that all the pain we endure in this life isn’t useless and futile. The movie hints at a truth that there is something, or someone, working above all the workings of others to achieve a purposeful goal. The Christian’s understanding of God’s sovereignty has been a source of comfort, a soft place to lay our weary and hurting souls. How we understand the influence and ability of a Supreme Being and what we believe that Supreme Being is like will dictate how we understand our sufferings. 

The villain in this film, the High Evolutionary (played by Chukwudi Iwuji), is the latest installment of power-hungry and misguided villains with God-complexes (see Red Skull, Loki, Thanos, Kang). What differentiates this villain from others is the level of cruelty and detachment he has towards his creation. What is apparent throughout the movie is that his obsession with perfection has been an impotent grasp at governing all things according to his purpose. During a flashback scene we see a young Rocket displaying a level of intelligence and creative thought beyond what even the High Evolutionary could conceive. This sends our villain into a lunatical rage pleading with Rocket to tell him how he knew. The move from poised scientist to deformed and off-kiltered lunatic progresses. We see the High Evolutionary’s desire for the perfect society fall short again and again along with his willingness to completely destroy that which he has created. Rocket was made from this mad scientist with malicious and evil intentions disguised as a desire for peace shrouded in hypocrisy and cruelty. 

Photo Credit: GamesRadar

When we finally get to the climax of the movie, Rocket’s body is lying on a medical bed as Quill and Gamora frantically try to save him from a blast from Adam Warlock in the opening scene, a blast that fatally wounded him. The scene flashes to a room of bright white with a shadowy figure moving towards Rocket. The figure comes into focus and is Lylla, the cybernetically modified otter who was Rocket’s first real friend. Lylla and the other creations from Batch 89 were killed in an attempt to escape incineration at the hands of the High Evolutionary. Rocket tearfully confesses his failures to keep Lylla and the others safe. He bemoans the sorrow he’s endured. Her response was the most beautiful line of the movie: “There are the hands that made us, and then there are the hands that guide their hands.”

This was a surprising statement because of how loudly it spoke to an omnipotent and benevolent power behind all the events we’ve seen the Guardians of the Galaxy experience. Anytime the MCU has seriously addressed the idea of a supreme creator or God-like being orchestrating events, these have always been characters who are malevolent, apathetic, or sociopathic. This gave me hope because even in this movie (in a franchise that is not at all trying to promote Christianity) the director saw that the way forward in confronting and moving through our pain is to recognize that someone good and powerful  has a purpose for us in our pain. 

“When His hands seem hidden from eyes let us look to Jesus and trust in His benevolent heart.” -Jake Thomas

When this quote was spoken by Lylla to Rocket my mind immediately went to Genesis 50:20, “What you meant for evil God meant for good”. The Old Testament story of Joseph is a story of God’s mysterious providence working within the real human choices of flawed and evil people. Joseph’s brothers had evil intentions when they sold him into slavery. Potphar’s wife had cruel intentions when she falsely accused Joseph of rape. Yet at the end of the story Joseph recognizes that there was One with a greater will and more powerful hand directing all things for good for His people (Romans 8:28). The God of the Bible is the One who guides all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11), including the unseemly horrible things experienced by us. 

Christians can process all their pain and grief with hope and courage, trusting in the God who loved us so much that he sent His only son to die for our sins. In Jesus, we see more clearly the Hands that guide all other hands. In Jesus, we see the hands of God touching the blind and lame so that they can be healed; we see hands that lean down to pick up adulteresses from the ground in order to show mercy and hands that embrace children to show God’s fatherly love. We see His hands stretched out on a cross with a body mutilated, broken, and traumatized… for us.  When His hands seem hidden from eyes let us look to Jesus and trust in His benevolent heart.


Read Part 1: The Damage of Grief and Trauma on Identity & Part 2: Purpose Lost & Found





Jake Thomas is a high school Pre-Engineering teacher and a graduate (MDiv. 2012) of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Tracy, live in Oklahoma City with their three children. They belong to The Vine Community Church where they serve as community group leaders and youth Sunday School teachers. Jake is an avid OKC Thunder fan, lover of all things sports (and Chick-fil-A), and a fan of Marvel movies.

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