Do you have heroes in your life? I hope so! I’m not talking about Superman or Batman I’m talking about the real flesh and blood type heroes of this world. I have quite a few … Jim Elliot, a young American missionary who died trying to share his faith with the Auca Indians. You can read about his life in the book ‘Shadow of the Almighty’ written by his wife Elizabeth. Then there’s Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom who helped hide Jews from the Nazis in the Second World War. Another is Eric Liddell, the Flying Scotsman who put God before a Gold Medal and of course the life and message of Martin Luther King has touched many of us.
Christopher Reeve (the original Superman) says that a hero is: ‘An ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.’
If that is true then I guess many of us have met lots of heroes and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Take Ron for example. Ron was married to Karen who had crippling MS a cruel disease that took much of Karen’s independence away. One day after watching Ron carry Karen from the car to their home I mentioned to him that I found his love for his wife inspiring. His response; ‘Many years ago I made Karen a promise to love her in sickness and in health, I have tried to be true to my promise.’ Yep, definitely a hero in my book!
Other heroes of mine include folk who have been betrayed by their spouse and left to bring up the children on their own. How many times have we seen this? It saddens and sickens me but at the same time these young mums (in my experience it is often the men who go walkabout) inspire me. They would never have chosen this path but their courage and determination to pour love into their children, whilst spinning a hundred other plates is quite remarkable.
Why am I sharing this? Because focusing on people like this encourages us to live life on a higher plain. When I’m tempted to feel sorry for myself I think of some of the heroes I have mentioned and it helps me put things back into perspective. They help us to be more courageous too! Remember, ‘Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.’ This quote from Alice Mackenzie Swaim is helpful as few of us can relate to a towering oak. Interestingly most of my heroes appeared to be quite fragile, yet God did remarkable things through their lives.
My greatest hero of course is my Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Bible says of him that he was meek and lowly and yet he set his face like flint to the path he had to walk. I re-visit Gethsemane frequently and gaze in wonder at the courageous love we find there. The Bible urges us to focus on him, especially when the road is challenging.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Inspiring isn’t it?! It is so easy to give up or give in, there is so much out there to discourage us, but let’s not do that. Instead let us look to the Saviour and other heroes to inspire us to live courageously and love contagiously.
All the best