“All heroes are shadows of Christ.” – John Piper
“I am Firestar!” my 8-year old yells to her brother stretching her hands to the sky. “I am Spiderman!” he yells back casting his invisible web. Oh, to transform myself into a super hero and use my powers to make time stand still or zap the dishes from dirty to clean!
Seriously, I wonder what super hero I would be these days though. Laundry Girl? The Stain-Fighting Ninja? The Incredibly Tired & Aging Spider-Veined Woman?
The other day, I asked my kids who their heroes were. I was surprised by their answers.
My 8-year old said a prayer warrior friend of ours was her hero because “she prays for us.” My oldest referenced a “gutsy” relative who recently returned to parenthood to raise her grandchildren. I nodded my head to both. Then, my 9-year old stopped me in my tracks when she said I was her hero because “you help us and love us.”
What? Me? Hero material?
A hero is born when frightening challenges and unwavering sacrifice meet. Sacrifice, however, is born long before that one moment. It is conceived and grown in the relentless, unglamorous self-denial of the everyday. We do this day in and day out as women and followers of Christ, but we forget that loads of laundry, prayers prayed at the dish sink, and constrained words on a computer screen are often the makings of heroism itself.
It is time to remember that.
1. We are heroes to our families and those around us when we love well because we defy the god of this age, the enemy of every soul when we do it.
Loving well is a loud, but silent sermon. I remember when I was a newlywed in the pew. Nearly every Sunday, I sat behind a family of seven — far enough away to have little personal interaction, but close enough to witness theirs. The mom and dad spoke kindly to one another and patiently dealt with their toddler’s fussing and baby’s cries. Imperfections abounded, I’m sure, but they made a lasting impression upon me that this thing we call family could be done well, with great love and eternal impact.
2. We are heroes of the faith when we fervently pray because we move heaven and earth through the power of the Holy Spirit when we do so.
Fervent prayer changes the course of eternity. While we know this in our spirits, some of us have prayed the same prayers for a long time and wonder when we’ll ever see things change. I have three words: Never. Give. Up. Two years ago, a 30-year old prayer of mine was positively answered when a friend received Christ. Sadly, I admit my doubts often outweighed my faith, but warring in the Spirit is tiring, long and hard, but oh so worth it. Never give up.
3. We are heroes to a cynical world when we boldly obey the voice of the Lord and live a real and active relationship with a living, real and active God.
Obedience is the proof of how much we believe Who we say we do. A recent road trip reminded me of that. The sun was setting when my kids and I encountered a man in a wheelchair begging. Unfamiliar with the area and unsure how to meet his need, I said, “Kids, let’s ask the Lord what to do.” My oldest responded immediately, “God said we are supposed to pray for him.” So we did. Within seconds, a young woman approached him and bent down, her blonde hair glinting in the sunlight. She held his hands in hers and we knew she was asking if he had a place to stay that night. Like the sun, the love of the Lord washed all over her. My kids let out a loud whoop of praise, “God has answered our prayers!” This woman was our hero. Her obedience set fire to our faith — and she still has no idea.
When we love well, pray fervently and boldly obey, we transform our breaking-to-pieces world through the power of Christ in us. We are heroes.
Super Woman, the world needs you now more than ever.
A five-second glance at the news is a sobering reminder that we live in a desperate age. As A.W. Tozer said, “We can be in our day what the heroes of faith were in their day – but remember at the time they didn’t know they were heroes.”
You may not see your cape, but it still flaps in the wind and the world still awaits an ordinary person transformed by extraordinary power to save the day.