“What will become of me for now on? After some time, I stopped thinking about that. Maybe I forgot how to think at all?” (Rin, Shelter)
Spiraling ice glaciers, boundless grass fields and deep ocean waters. Graffiti skies painted with puffy clouds and long horizons water-colored with vibrant suns. This is the virtual world seventeen year old Rin lives inside, built by pixels and computer data. She can create anything her heart desires with the touch pen on her tablet. But as she explores her surroundings, she realizes she is the only one there. She is all alone.
Rin doesn’t know who she is or what her purpose is. She lives each day merely passing time, wondering if anything will ever change. She knows there is something more, something greater, but she doesn’t know what. One day, however, everything changes.
While reaching out to touch an old swing tied to an elder tree, she has a glimpse of someone special to her, a flashing moment in her head. The man had looked at her tenderly with love, something that she had never had before. This experience was not created by her tablet: it had always been inside her. She was never truly alone after all. A deep longing for this person and aching filled her emotions.
Suddenly, the scenery chances and Rin is falling down an endless expanse of purple canyon, reliving each of her childhood memories. Her past clutters her mind, taking it all in at once, but there were a couple of key things she could recall. She remembered, most importantly, the father who loved her dearly and their comfortable home in Tokyo. But more than that, she remembered the apocalyptic situation that threatened to destroy her city. If she had stayed there, she would have surely died.
But her father had a plan.
Being a scientist, he designed a confined space pod, or Shelter, that would hold her daughter until Tokyo was not under attack. The father worked tirelessly on this project while raising his daughter by himself and kept her smiling until the proper time came. Placing young Rin carefully into the system, he sent her into the sky, waiting for the day they would be reunited again.
Taking the general premise to Shelter into mind, I believe every person in our world lives nearly the same life as Rin. The parallels between this seventeen year old girl and mankind have such striking similarities and it’s amazing how it all fits together. To prove my point, let me work backwards and explain the plot of this anime using real people, showing how God protects us with our own Shelter.
Just like Rin, people have their own tablets with touch pens that they can use to create their life to fit whatever wishes they desire. However, the world they live in is only virtual and the things experienced aren’t eternal. Success, power, sex, money and anything else are only temporary items that don’t exist outside their own mind and present experience. When talking about one’s own life, a person feels completely alone.
People don’t truly know who they are or what their purpose is. They live each day merely passing time, wondering if anything will ever change. They know there is something more, someone greater, but they don’t know what. One day, however, everything changes.
The Holy Spirit will come upon a person and give them a glimpse of God, a flashing moment in their soul. He looks at them with tender unconditional love, something that they had never had before. This experience was not created by a person’s life; it had always been existing eternally. People were never truly alone after all. A deep longing for God and aching fills their souls.
Suddenly, the temporary things begin to dissolve and people are free falling into the grace and love of the Gospel, learning about who they truly are. There is so much to learn, taking it all in at once, but there are a couple of key things that people can recall. They learn, most importantly, that they were made by God and they have a home in Heaven waiting for them. But more than that, they learn about an apocalyptic curse, sin, that threatens to destroy them. If people faced sin on their own, they would surely die.
But our Heavenly Father had a plan.
Being the sovereign ruler of the universe, God sent Himself as a man named Jesus to die on a cross to pay for the sins of mankind. For those He decided to choose Him and for those who would choose Him out of free will simultaneously, He secured eternally with salvation, waiting until the proper time came. Placing the chosen people as the elect, He allows them to live their lives as they please, waiting for the day that they would be saved and reunite with Him again in Heaven.
This process of God choosing those who would be saved is known as predestination and it is the Shelter of all believers. Like Rin, we are protected by our Shelter and have the hope of reuniting with our Father once again. Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins and the sealing of the Holy Spirit are the memories like Rin’s of her father that ensure her of her happy future. It’s painful to live apart from God in a sin-infested world and sometimes it still feels like we are still alone, but unlike Rin, we have our Father with us in this life and get to be with Him forever in the next life. We will be protected by predestination, our Shelter.
“Even if those memories make me sad, I’ve got to move forward, believing in the future. Even when I realize my loneliness, and am about to lose all hope, those memories make me stronger.” (Rin, Shelter)
“..even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will..” (Ephesians 1:4-5, NASB)