There’s a new hero in my life! He wears blue spandex, red shorts and a cape. A big yellow star is emblazoned across his chest and he stands with his hands on his hips in a heroic pose, joining forces with God to take action!
Who is this masked man, you might ask? Not a bird, not a plane—it’s Blastman! AKA my mild-mannered hubby, Bob! Yes, he’s finally given in to his alter ego after forty years and donned his Superhero persona to fight for truth, justice and the American way!
Oh, wait a minute! Actually, Bob has come out of the phone booth to promote the Ministry Fair our church is having on October 24th. The theme is “Be a Hero! Take Action! Join Forces with God!” They asked Bob to be Blastman since 1.) He’s one of the few who could fit in the costume and 2.) He’s willing to really ham it up and make a fool of himself in front of several hundred people for the sake of the ministry. Bless his heart…
I have to admit, he was a bit reluctant at first. “I need to lose two or three pounds before I put that thing on!” he declared. “The last time I wore tights [as part of a costume, I hasten to add] was thirty years ago! I’ve gained five pounds since then!” I wanted to smack him!
We’ve had a lot of fun with Blastman all week. Last Sunday Bob stayed after church and put the costume on so they could do a photo shoot of him posing as a superhero. Then a few days later I cropped the backgrounds out, put in the backgrounds I wanted, and put together a Powerpoint presentation of Blastman encouraging everyone to attend the Ministry Fair, and even more than that, to be a part of the ministries in and through our church.
The Powerpoint turned out really cool, if I do say so myself! The pictures and backgrounds were great, the animations were fun, and the music I set it to really added excitement and that Superhero flavor to it! I used the theme from Star Wars—you know, the one that starts out Daaa-Daaa-Da-Da-Da-Daaa-Daa-Da-Da-Da-Daaa-Daa-Da-Da-Da-Daaa… (You know that one, right?)
Blastman himself will be at the Ministry Fair, encouraging everyone to be a hero and take action for God! Knowing Bob, he’ll be a hit with the crowd, and he’ll have a lot of fun himself. Of course, I’ve always known my husband is a superhero—now everyone else will know it, too!
From the time we were kids, we’ve all enjoyed superheroes and fantasizing about the supernatural powers they might have—the ability to fly, x-ray vision, being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and so on. As we grow up we’ve realized that although superheroes are imaginary, there really are heroes among us. They may not have supernatural powers, but they use what they do have in extraordinary ways to accomplish extraordinary feats. We saw it on September 11, 2001 when hundreds of firemen and rescue workers rushed into the Twin Towers while thousands of others fled, knowing full-well that they might not come out again. We see it every time a soldier braves the bullets to go back for a fallen comrade. We saw it this week when a few construction workers rushed a man who was shooting at a schoolyard full of little children, and took him down.
We see quiet heroes every day—people who will never do great things in the eyes of the world, but who steadfastly, courageously do what has to be done against all odds, with determination and all the strength that they have. People who give of themselves sacrificially for others. People who are willing to stand for what is right, even if they stand alone.
What does it take to be a hero? What does it take to be a hero of the faith? Courage probably comes to mind first. Courage is not the absence of fear. As human beings, we all experience fear. It is part of our survival instinct. Courage, rather, is the ability to overcome our fear—to function and do what is right and necessary despite our fear. If we had no fear, why would we need courage? I Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Fear is part of our human nature, but God does not want us to be controlled by it, or held bondage by a spirit of fear.
Courage means having boldness and the confidence to say or do what is true and right and just in the sight of God. Over and over again the people of God are exhorted to be of good courage, to be strong, to not be afraid for God goes with us and will not leave us or forsake us. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9) “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)
Courage for the believer comes through faith. We cannot see the future. We cannot see what is coming at us next, and even when we do see the obstacle or trial coming our way, we cannot see how the Lord is going to handle it for us. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” God is at work, whether we see it or not.
Scripture gives us one example after another of heroes of the faith. There is Noah who believed God and stood alone with his family for God when the rest of the world called them fools. That is faith, resulting in courage. There is Daniel who prayed at his window for all the world to see when he knew doing so could result in him being torn apart by lions. That, too, is faith, resulting in courage. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego obeyed God rather than man with a courage that was a result of their faith in God, and the Lord saved them from the fiery furnace. David faced a giant alone when the rest of the army hid. His courage came from his faith that God was with him when nobody else would stand with him.
Faith brings the courage to take the first step, but we need determination and strength to keep going. Faith gives us the courage to stand fast when necessary, but again, we need determination and strength to hang on. Determination is purposing to accomplish whatever it is God has called us to, regardless of the opposition. The book of Nehemiah gives an account of the courage and determination and strength of Nehemiah and a group of captives who returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. “Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work…So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 2:18, 4:6) They strengthened their hands for they had a mind to work.
The good news is that we do not need the strength of a superhero. God takes whatever little strength we have and multiplies it for the task that is at hand. He promises “…and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” (Deuteronomy 33:25) Psalm 18:22 says, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
Courage, faith, determination, strength—all these are traits of a hero. There is something else that is a mark of a hero, however, and that is sacrificial love. Our greatest example of this, of course, is Jesus Christ. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (I John 3:16) John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Sacrificial love is selfless, putting others before self. That is why those firemen could climb the Twin Towers. That is why a father works so hard to put food on the table for his children, why a mother stays up into the wee hours caring for her family, why a missionary leaves family and home to take the Gospel across the world. It is sacrificial love.
We’ve had a (dare I say it?) blast with Blastman this week! I teased Bob, asking him, “So where has Blastman been for the last forty years of our marriage?” The truth, though, is that I don’t want a superhero. My husband is a real-life hero to me. Bob’s life and faith have always been characterized by courage and boldness, determination, faith and strength. He has given of himself sacrificially for his family and for anyone else he sees in need. He goes through life, not looking for recognition or reward, but just quietly being a hero.
We can all be heroes for our families, heroes for the Lord, heroes of the faith.