Of all the Kung Fu Panda movies so far, my favourite is Kung Fu Panda 2.
It has a lot more fight scenes (as my husband says), deeper character growth, and a stronger story.
But what I love most about it is its central theme: Anything is possible when you have inner peace.
Anything includes overcoming your deepest emotional hurts, defeating your greatest giants, and above all staying joyful and hope-filled about the future and present situation.
The character of Po the panda has always been one of the most lovable in animation. He has a sweet nature, doesn’t take things too seriously, tends to see the fun side of things, and is resilient in being able to stay joyful and upbeat regardless of circumstances.
But in the movie, Po, who has mastered kung fu and finally settled into his role as the Dragon Warrior, faces his greatest test as he encounters the truth of his past. Specifically, the heartbreaking pain and sorrow that’s wrapped up with the knowledge of where he really came from.
Even so, at the point of his deepest pain, Po finds true inner peace.
And he finds that he has the choice to live life not in the scars and hurts of the past. But with the joy of all the victories he has already experienced and of all that he already has.
A lot of what we experience in life can be painful. Bitter betrayals, personal losses, seemingly impossible battles with insurmountable odds. Even the struggles of day-to-day life and raising a family can easily sap joy out of us.
These things happen to all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike.
The difference is that Christians have the one thing that turns everything around: Inner peace.
Romans 5:1-2 says:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
There’s a peace that is found only in Christ, a peace that nothing in the world can match. Not the most relaxing spa, the most exclusive beach villa, nor even the fattest bank account.
It is peace with God – the peace of knowing you have been made forever right with God. That you have no accounts left outstanding with Him, and that nothing can ever change that reality.
We receive this peace when we receive Jesus and His finished work for us.
Unlike Po’s example, the inner peace Christians possess is a peace that is found not through our own pain, but founded upon Another bearing all our pain on our behalf.
It is not uncommon for people to come to Christ and discover this peace through painful and challenging circumstances. Even long-time Christians may rediscover this peace that is already theirs and grow closer to God through such trying times.
Knowing that Jesus has fully borne the pain of that situation at the cross and that all of God’s resources are now fully on our side – no matter what kind of person we are – brings an untold peace and rest to our soul.
And it is on the basis of this peace that we can rejoice in hope and have a confident expectation of the good God has planned for our future.
Oftentimes Christians don’t seem to manifest this peace and joy, because unfortunately they hold on to the burdens of their past and fail to lay hold of the peace and freedom that is already before them, ending up bitter and vengeful just like Lord Shen in the movie. Or we fight and keep trying to deal with the burdens ourselves, just like Po did at first.
But the hurts and wounds we’ve carried with us through life don’t have to dictate or rule our life anymore. Their control over us stops when we open our eyes to the grace ground that we now stand in Christ. When we realise the abundance of supply and blessings God has already in store all around us.
And we can let go of our past and present pains just like Po did, however unpleasant they may be. And choose to live in the present abundance of all that God has already given us and made us to possess in Christ.
An abiding sense of peace and lightness can’t help but flow into us as we choose to let go of all that is hurting us.
Like with Po in the movie, it enables us to rejoice and still be merry in the face of difficulties, as though they did not exist. It enables us to face our enemies unafraid. It enables us to have victory over everything that comes against us.
Letting go of the past and choosing to live in the abundance of supply, promises, and blessings that God has already provided to us through Christ may well be the best decision we make.
Do you want to enjoy a peace, joy, and freedom that doesn’t leave when things change? You can.
With God, NOW is always the time of salvation.
It doesn’t matter what you have been through, who has hurt you, or even what you have done.
Just receive Jesus and what He has already done for you. Every pain that you have experienced, He has borne. Every wrong that you have done, He has suffered the punishment due for it.
Let go, and let His unshakeable peace flow into you. Let go, and let His abiding joy rise afresh in you.
Let go, and experience the unbeatable freedom of knowing that He who has done it all for you will bring you to victory, all by Himself.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.