Who’s your hero? I remember my first hero, the Bionic Woman. Lindsay Wagner ran alongside the Six Million Dollar Man with a winning smile, lept onto buildings with ease, could hear whispers from a mile away and when she effortlessly tore in half a four inch phone book, my six year old frame was glued to the TV in awe of this super woman.
The editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Axel Alonso, says, “Kids need heroes. While parents should be role models for life, superheroes remind a child of the moral compass necessary to navigate a universe fraught with thrills and danger.” While Alonso may not be a voice for the ages, there is some truth to what he says. There’s a kid in all of us that wants a hero to save the day. Aren’t most of us searching for someone or something bigger than ourselves in which to find delight and security? Heroes help take the sting of out the ordinary stuff of life, and they take care of the monster in the closet. Those monsters take all kinds of shape: a bully, unrequited love, a distorted view of oneself, believed lies, a struggling bank account, poor health, pride, fear, insecurity, homelessness…monsters perpetually hound us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In the midst of such predators, it seems our right to demand heroes.
It’s easy to admire larger-than-life historical heroes like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Or even contemporary heroes like John Piper, Billy Graham or Meriam Yahia (the imprisoned Sudanese woman who had been sentenced to death for refusing to give up her Christian faith). Their established, yet distanced, character is inspiring and challenging. In a way, some distance is preferred because without that, they may become less heroic. Heroes and perfection go hand in hand. But is it fair to require perfection from heroes, let alone anyone? Of course not, but I do it all the time with everyday people who I read about or who make promises to me or who seem to be in positions to provide what I feel I need or want. I embrace an image rather than reality. My sin nature can become scarier than any monster in the closet because I exchange an image for the Creator as I look for perfection in others. When I confess putting too much demand on someone, God allows me to experience His grace in sweet measure. When I ask myself who hasn’t disappointed or who I haven’t disappointed, the answer comes full circle: hope in God.
Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Thankfully, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). Hoping in the perfect God removes fear (1 John 4:18). When I realize my own limitations and imperfections, I run to Him because He is my shield and He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3). I need to always run to Christ to be my perfect hero because He will always protect, restore and act justly.
Father God, You alone are holy. Your perfection is my delight and my security. Forgive me when I have put my hope in people more than in You. Help me let go of unrealistic expectations of people and free me from the scary monsters that can rob me of intimacy with You. Help me cling to You always for You are my rock and fortress. Thank You for always being there for me and for showering me with your grace and mercy. In Christ’s Name. Amen.
In Joyful Surrender,