You know the place. An amazingly articulate giraffe hawks kiddie wares for a specialty store. Whole sections are devoted to action figures, those super heroes with great ability to defend, attack, or rescue. They are strong, dedicated, and single minded. They are TOYS.
Get on board “ imagination bus” for a private tour. You will meet pretend heroes, as well as a few real ones. We are observing individual still-life portrayals as we look for the common denominator in folks who, by a brave, noteworthy or superhuman action have the title of HERO thrust upon them.
Stopping at the first character study, notice the pencil-skinny young lady wearing huge, ugly shoes and a funny shaped hair-do. Her hands are clasped together against one side of a plain little face aflutter with eyelashes. We wince at that high shrill voice cooing, “Ohhh, Popeye, MY HERO, you saved me.”
Poor winky-eyed fellow galumphs along in his daily life until a bully named Brutus begins moving in on Miss Oyl. Gulping a can of powerful green vegetable for strength, he takes delight in battling the big bruiser and saving his beanpole darling. The little sailor man simply takes care of business, then slips back into his everyday seafaring ways.
Moving along, we view a meek, bespectacled reporter. Chased by demanding deadlines, he seems to be “ word-smithing” himself into exhaustion while his frazzled, short-tempered newspaper editor is doing his best to scoop up stories with one hand and put them to bed with the other.
Suddenly, a dire emergency catapults mild-mannered-man to a phone booth. In a single bound he leaps out of his daily planet clothes and into blue tights-under and red jockeys-over. To prevent interference with his most excellent x-ray vision, he whips off those pesky Mr. McGoo horned rims, flies off to the problem, averts disaster, knocks a few heads together and is back at his desk in record time. He responds to a need, closes the deal, and then quietly fades into regular mode.
As we pass through to reality land, watch a young shepherd boy step up to the plate with a slingshot, and in a milestone event, brow beat a giant problem into eternity. This young warrior has a main job: sheep keeping. (We have not heard the last of him.)
In the next illustration, hear the trembling response of Moses, a man at peace with tending his flock. Suddenly, he is called by God to lead an emancipation proclamation: liberate the Israelites. “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech and tongue. Please send another.”
God turned that stumbling voice into an articulate and powerful communication tool. If our Father wants to use us, he will supply the ability and strength.
There is also the lament of Jeremiah, a man called to be a prophet. “But wait Lord… I am only a boy.” Then, see Ezekiel, also summoned in a most dramatic way that leaves him speechless, but not forsaken. When God asks average folks to do above average jobs, he provides and sustains.
With more than a few hours of experience logged in life’s observation tower, and as the tour guide on our imaginary bus, I leave you with this: real life heroes do not necessarily guzzle spinach or wear red capes. They are usually ordinary people doing extraordinary things. An element of inconvenience, stress, or downright danger may demand departure from a safe comfort zone to front-page news, or merely to a steady behind the scenes perseverance.
Sometimes, acts of bravery are reponses to immediate and urgent needs that simply cannot wait. We may be surprised at how appropriate our skill and reaction is to that special call. When it is your turn at bat, take a deep breath, ask God to show you where to hit the ball, step out with boldness from the non-responders box and employ your good sense. It is okay to ask for a legion or two of ministering angels to be on stand-by, but you’ll know what to do.
It is truly an honor to be used as God’s action figure to rescue, defend, intercept, or intercede; we are his hands and feet. Fellow Christian soldiers, it is wise to stay alert, even in the boredom of routine. If the Lord needs you, He will supply the confidence and full armor. You may want to keep that helmet nearby.
And hey, let’s be careful out there.
Isaiah 6:8 … “Here am I! SEND ME.”