Why it’s OK to have a hero (and be one)

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“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Christopher Reeve

The problem with ‘superheroes’ is that they’re all capes and disguise; they’re driven by hate or hurt or hardship – but we love them! We love it when they fight baddies overcome their obstacles and take over the world!

I have a 6 year old son who is pretty much superhero obsessed. He talks about them, draws them, writes their names over and over (and over) again; he acts out superhero scenarios and of course dresses up as them. He often tries to educate me in the world of superheroes; you know, facts like the importance of knowing the difference between DC and Marvel. Dave and I sat down to watch a Marvel super hero film a few weeks ago; as the movie started I happened to ask who the cute dark haired chick was collecting Captain America (or ‘Cap’ for you know it alls) at which point he look at me in utter disappointment, paused the movie and said “WHAT? Are you serious, you don’t know who that is? That’s Black Widow”.  Shame on me! I was the talk of the dinner table the next day; but I will never make that mistake again (smile).

The thing about my hero is that He’s driven by love; He came as a baby quietly into the world but He grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and all the people (Luke 2:52). He wore compassion instead of a cape but He came to seek and save the lost.

“All heroes are shadows of Christ” John Piper

So why is it important to our human nature to have a hero? I guess we all need an authentic, flesh and bones picture of hope in our lives.

Our culture is so full of seemingly ‘perfect’ looking lives and people staring at us through the eyes of social media. We’re desperate to reveal the cool, pretty, fun, living aspects of our lives; and that’s OK, really it is – it’s a bit like sitting down with the world and flicking them through your favourite photo albums (you only put the best ones in right?).

And heroism isn’t to be be mistaken for idol worship – you know the mild youthful kind when you wanted to stick posters of ‘New Kids on the Block’ on your bedroom wall but your responsible, protective Christian parents wouldn’t let you (or was that only me?); no, a true hero for me lives an authentic life, has triumphed through brokenness, brings hope and moves me into a new realm of possibility. A true hero for me is walking a familiar path but sheds light further down the road. Which brings hope.

A true hero for me reveals Jesus. They show me that their lives are hidden in Him.

My heroes are mothers, writers, wives, leaders, innovators, forward thinkers and pioneers

Historically a hero is a warrior (sometimes bad, sometimes good) but they classically defend and protect – a bit like our masked characters pictured above.

Maybe our modern day heroes defend and protect us from the impact of the pain of the world and keep hope beating in our hearts

Maybe our modern day heroes defend and protect our dreams; keeping them alive – showing us the reality of living out the path we have already committed to walk

Maybe our modern day heroes defend and protect the Gospel – keep it running through our veins, we are not ashamed – it has power 

“I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”

Florence Nightingale

So I sometimes play this ‘If I was throwing a hero tea party who would I invite’ game (you’re allowed 5); here’s who’s on my guest list today:

Charlotte Mason, Ann Voskamp, Sally Clarkson (I happened to have tea with Sally in Oxford with a few other ladies on Tuesday, but that’s another story), Heidi Baker & Susanna Wesley

Who’s on your guest list?

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