When we start talking about superheroes, some think that is kid stuff. But deep inside, many are enamored with super heroes. There are many new shows, movies, and stories that are continually produces for an awaiting audience ready to devour another good hero story.
There seems to be a need for people to have heroes, whether fact or fiction. Children especially want to have heroes. They look up to them. They want to imitate them. They strive to have the same type of character and integrity. There is something powerful about a hero story. It can deeply affect a person's life.
What about Christian heroes? The Bible is full of them. Most of them were flawed in some way. David who committed adultery. Samson who had a problem with recklessness. Moses who might have had a speech impediment. And the list goes on. This illustrates that the true hero in scripture is God. God is always the hero of the story. It is by his might, his wisdom, and his power that the victories and goals are met. Yet, in spite of their flaws, we still find great encouragement in identifying with the "human" heroes of scripture.
Early Christians used to preserve and pass on stories of real live heroes for the purpose of strengthening the faith of Christians. Many of these were martyr stories, such as the Martyrdom of Polycarp or the Passion of Perpetua. Tertullian wrote that the blood of the martyrs were like seed. When the blood of a martyr was shed, many more Christian grew up and grew strong in his place. Obviously, the stories of the martyrs were preserved for the purpose of strengthening the church.
What better heroes for people to have than those who strove to follow God with all devotion and at all costs? Throughout Christian history, there are many stories of those who have followed God's calling at all costs. Some were killed by the authorities. Some went into the jungles of the world as missionaries. Some translated the Bible into the language of the people. And the list goes on and on.
But it doesn't stop there. There are contemporary stories of missionaries and martyrs as well. Persecution is still a current reality in various parts of the world. For instance, it is not unusual for Christians in North Korea to literally be tortured to death in their prisons. One organization, called "Voice of the Martyrs" preserves their accounts so that believers can pray for them. Missionaries go to dangerous places in the world to bring the Gospel of Christ.
These real life hero stories can inspire us to be God's heroes right where we are at. All it takes is an understanding of the power of the Gospel to transform lives from the inside out, a sense of God given purpose, and compassion. I'm not a poet, but these words came to me as I was thinking about this:
You may not be able to fly to danger, but you can walk to your neighbor You may not be able to lift a bus, but you can lift a heart You may not have telepathy and read minds, but you can empathize with another You may not be able to save the world, but you can bring a lost soul to Christ