Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shattering the Superhero Myth

© Marvel.co
As a kid, my favorite superhero was Superman. He could soar over the clouds, into outer space, jump off buildings, and with one graceful swoop, rescuing those in trouble. Not only that, throw in the laser eye thing and other-worldly strength, and I was sold. Glowing green rock was pretty rare in my life, so I figured I was home free. The bruises on my knees from jumping off the couch, however, proved I had other weaknesses to tackle before I could jump off buildings.

And then there are all those Marvel superheros that we love to watch on the big screen - Iron Man, Wolverine, Spiderman, Hulk, etc. Though I've never read the comics, I've always enjoyed watching these heroes in action. There is something attractive and appealing about someone who can outsmart the hardships of life, save humanity, and still get the girl (or guy in my case) at the end.

Unfortunately, too many people buy into the marvel of the Marvel superheroes. We seek to embody this ideal image of strong, powerful, handsome/beautiful people. We can conquer the boardroom, be the top of our class, sell the most records, become an A-list actor, live in the biggest house on the block, or drive the fanciest car. We are superheroes in our own right. Or maybe you have heard this line: "You are your own god. You don't need anyone else. Only you can save yourself." This mantra preached in most -ism's today (feminism was pushed heavily in my department in college).

If we are honest with ourselves, despite our outward belief that we can be these superheroes, we know there is something missing. Listen to this song by Krystal Harris called "Supergirl."

© Krystal Harris. Shared from youtube.com
In case you missed it, the chorus says, "I'm supergirl/ And I'm here/ To save the world/ And I wanna know/ Who's gonna save me?/ I'm supergirl/ And I'm here to/ Save the world/ And I wanna know/ Why I feel so alone?/ Seems like a dream / But there's one thing missing /Nobody's here with me (Here with me)/ To share in all that/ I've been given I need someone /That's strong enough for me."

This song perfectly identifies our attitudes. We claim to be our own superheroes, strong enough to take on the world, but we can't save ourselves. No matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, it's never enough to satisfy our own loneliness when we go home at the end of the day and crawl into bed. Nothing satisfies. 

I admit, I have a strength complex. I think I can handle things on my own. I want to step in and fix the problems affecting my family and friends. I want to be supergirl. The Lord may have given me an ability to handle some things well, but at the end of the day, I am weak and completely fall short of being able to rescue myself, or anyone else for that matter. My bruises show my humanity, my weakness. Luckily, I know the ultimate Superhero.

The Apostle Paul recognized his inability to save himself. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "And He (Jesus) has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

What a relief! The Lord empowers me to be strong. He is my superhero. Don't get me wrong. He isn't a genie. He doesn't always grant my wishes or rescue me from the troubles of this world. That's how I grow as a person. I don't have any strength or ability besides what He chooses to give me. His power is perfected in my weakness. His strength is sufficient for what I face today and tomorrow and the rest of my life. He is the ultimate Marvel hero. May I marvel in Him alone!

Since I have a thing for superheroes, I would love to know...Who is your favorite superhero?

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