What a classic movie. Karate Kid is a story of a unique relationship. The relationship of Christ and His church. What a great lesson in putting our trust in the Lord. Trusting Him to fulfill what He said He would do. Trusting His expertise. Loving just being with Him. Walking with Him.
Two main characters – Daniel-son and Mr. Miagi.
Daniel-son, a young boy, is like the church, the believer. Daniel-son needs to learn karate in order to defend himself. In order to do so, he is mentored by Mr. Miagi, a karate expert, an unassuming, older, wiser man, who respects the craft and loves Daniel-son as his own son. Mr. Miagi is like the Lord.
Mr. Miagi finds Daniel-son, not the other way round. Although Daniel-son goes looking to find this ‘maintenance man’ who has mysteriously fixed his bike, to thank him, it is Mr. Miagi who has opened the door for their meeting by this hidden gesture of love and care. Just as it is the Lord who first loved us. We love Him because He first loved us – His love drew us to Him, in gratitude. But in addition to this, we were unable to love the Lord until His love was poured out into us first. Then, it is with the same love He has given us, that we can love Him in return.
We see this in the relationship between Daniel-son and Mr. Miagi. Daniel-son begins to imitate Mr. Miagi’s love and respect and we see him become wise, humble, self-controlled and a young man of dignity, in the characteristics of his master. Like the church, with her Master.
My favourite scene is when Mr. Miagi has agreed to train Daniel-son, and has subsequently had Daniel-son sanding and painting Mr. Miagi’s Japanese garden walk-ways and fencing, and polishing his collection of cars.
Daniel-son has taken seriously the lessons from Mr. Miagi on how to do these tasks – wax on, wax off, circle left, circle right, up and down, up and down….. After hours of this, Daniel-son gets sick of this and starts resenting the tedious work he has been asked to do, feeling he’s being taken advantage of and ripped off because he’s not being taught karate how he thinks he should be. He only sees that he has been waxing, polishing, sanding and painting. That’s all his eyes can see. He is seeing through his eyes, not through Mr. Miagi’s eyes.
Mr. Miagi, at the end of the day and seeing Daniel-son’s frustration, gets Daniel-son to show him his moves he has learned. Daniel-son lifts his arms up to demonstrate the newly acquired skill of moving his arms in a certain fashion. Instantly, Mr. Miagi lifts up his own arms interacting with Daniel-son’s movement to attempt a karate move against Daniel-son and Daniel-son discovers that his own movement he has just learnt is in fact blocking Mr. Miagi from being able to hurt him. With each demonstration of each different movement, the same thing occurs. Daniel-son is now demonstrating a trained skill in karate, without even knowing he had acquired this skill. He thought he had only been waxing, polishing, sanding and painting. Now he was adequately sparring with Mr. Miagi.
Daniel-son begins to see through Mr. Miagi’s eyes.
So it is with us. The Lord takes us through learning processes that take time and in our eyes, look totally unrelated to anything of any value. It might not be until years later that we see through the Lord’s eyes, the value of all that we have been through – the tedious hours of a mundane job, the struggle with certain personalities, being faced with opposition and trials, loss, seemingly not gaining anything at all.
Mr. Miagi like the Lord, displays no frustration with Daniel-son’s immaturity. He understands why Daniel-son is feeling resentful, he is gracious and patient with him. He understands the way of youth. The Lord understands our humanity and bears with us.
As Daniel-son and Mr. Miagi spend many hours together, their relationship forms a unique bond. There is a certain intimacy in our relationship with the Lord, that is just between us. And it is through this time spent together, that we become like Him. We watch Him, listen to Him, share with Him, hang out with Him. We let Him be our Master. We become the Lord’s friend, like Abraham. Of-course, Daniel-son becomes a karate expert and knocks out his opponents in the competition which we can relate to, as the Lord equips us, His church, but more importantly by Karate Kid III, Daniel-son introduces Mr. Miagi to his new girlfriend as his ‘best friend’.