Welcome to the Desert of the Real

Anyone that knows me well would be able to tell you that I love spending what spare time I have watching good movies. One of my absolute favourite movie sagas has to be ‘The Matrix.’ In case you haven’t seen these films, the story goes something like this:

Humanity has been trapped in a world that is not real. A few freedom fighters who are awake to this deception seek to bring down that which is keeping humanity imprisoned in the manufactured construct of reality.

The main character, played by Keanu Reeves, is called Neo. After Neo has been woken from his sedated state, he’s met by a man called Morpheus who becomes his mentor and it’s not long before Neo has some big questions about what’s been going on for the last 37 years.One

One of the first questions Neo asks is, “What is the Matrix?” Morpheus proceeds to give Neo the answer by taking him back into the computerised reality that he had been plugged into for 37 years. Morpheus shows Neo the 21st century as he’s always seen it but then begins to explain to Neo that this is not the real world that they, or humanity now exist in. Cue the ‘drop the mike moment’ that shakes Neo to his core. Morpheus reveals to him the real, present-day world: a world in ruins, deserted with a scorched sky and very little light. Upon revealing this, Morpheus speaks the words, “Welcome to the desert of the real.” This revelation takes Neo into a state of fear, despair and denial and he begins to wish he’d never been woken up!

No matter how many times I watch this scene, it always takes me back to when God pulled back the curtain of deception from my own life, allowing me to see the world as it really is!

It was July 2012, and I was an inmate in a Category C prison in Uttoxeter called Dovegate. My life was chaotic, marked by crime and craziness. Then God stepped in and revealed Himself to me. I still don’t fully understand why God came and revealed himself to me. I mean there was nothing lovely or special about the man I was before. The truth was the polar opposite! Nevertheless, what I know for sure is that God came into my cell that day on P-wing and revealed the reality of Himself to me. My life was never to be the same again. From that time on, I understood the world around me in a very different way. All that I’d been living for, all that I ever thought I truly desired and sought to achieve became worthless. I also began to see the perversion that was taking place around me for what it was, and just like Neo in The Matrix, I was shaken to my core!

In our complex and interconnected world, the choice between real and unreal is more significant now than ever before. As we navigate our way through this world, it’s up to us, as individuals and as a society, to recognize what is true and to strive for authenticity. In an era where misinformation spreads so easily, our ability to distinguish between real and unreal becomes crucial. I believe, through my personal experience with God and my ongoing, everyday walk with Jesus that this world is in serious need of God pulling back the curtain of deception and welcoming humanity into the ‘desert of the real’… no matter how core-shaking that may prove to be!

Anthony Bostock

Anthony worked with Walk Ministries for four and a half years. Before that he was a drug dealer turned drug addict. He now works with a ministry in Uganda and is currently exploring different ways of working with released prisoners across East Africa. Anthony is one of our speakers at Fixed 23.