When it comes to the things I love that I have been giving my free time to lately there is an odd little convergence. I play a lot of board/card games, and the game that is been dominating my table lately is Keyforge. In this game players have a unique deck, and they are using the cards and abilities to get enough resources to be the player that forges three keys first.
In the realm of video games my go-to game has become No Man’s Sky. This is a bit of a love it or hate type of game, but I am in the love it camp. No Man’s Sky is a space exploration game that, for better or worse, puts exploring at the forefront. Despite being radically different games, Keyforge and No Man’s Sky share one core commonality. They both heavily utilize procedural generation.
In the blandest terms procedural generation is a method that uses an algorithm to generate data instead of a designer doing it manually. Video games have been using procedural generation for years, but in the past few years games that feature unique worlds created by the properties of an algorithm have become more common. Keyforge is the first major attempt to use procedural generation in a tabletop game. In Keyforge the decks that players play are assembled by an algorithm. While the cards used to make the decks come from a common pool, every Keyforge deck purchased is unique from every other Keyforge deck.
The uniqueness that procedural generation offers is part of its great appeal. For instance, No Man’s Sky has a number of planets in the quintillions. When I land on a planet and see the alien creatures that inhabit the digital world, it is fascinating to think that I am the first person in the world to ever see this creation. In the same way there is an appeal in knowing that the decks I have for Keyforge are different than all the others. If I were to play in a Keyforge tournament, then it is guaranteed that the opponent has never played a deck like mine because there literally is not another deck like mine. Procedural generation has been derided as a fad and a gimmick. It might be, but I find the uniqueness it creates to be completely engrossing.
In the Christian faith we can find a somewhat similar concept of uniqueness. Just like every deck of Keyforge is different, every believer in Christ has a unique testimony. The key difference is that testimonies are not generated by the randomness of an algorithm. They are created by the grace of a loving Creator seeking to be reconciled with the beloved creations that are fearfully and wonderfully made. Because each person is created unique by God, no two testimonies are alike.
Every Christian has a testimony. A testimony is our personal story of how we came to faith. It is our own story of how we finally responded to God’s justifying love. Our testimony is the story of when we came to realize that God’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance was something we can personally experience and know. As John Wesley might put it, our testimony is our story of when our heart was “strangely warmed.”
I really enjoy hearing the testimonies of fellow believers for much the same reason I am enjoying No Man’s Sky and Keyforge. I find the uniqueness fascinating. Over the years, I have met people who claim that they “do not have much of a testimony.” That’s nonsense, because we all have a story. Your story may not have a dramatic delivery from addiction or a climatic calling into ministry, but your story still has immense value. Every person’s story of coming to faith is different, everyone reveals an aspect of God’s great love, and everyone is beautiful. Your story is unique to you and it wonderfully tells how the God of all creation cared enough about you to save and redeem you.
Your story is yours and it is unique. No one else has a story of experiencing God’s saving love quite like yours. May you be in wonder and at awe at that simple truth. More importantly though, may you not be afraid to share your story. May you be willing to share your story of how you have experienced Jesus and his love, because no one has heard a story quite like yours before.