I always wanted to be a superhero. Just like any kid, I would dream of putting on my cape and fighting crime, bringing justice and offering hope to a broken world. But I guess it does not necessarily work that way now does it?
I would long for the day I would get bitten by a spider. All trace of fear would probably be diminished by the spider venom that would allow me to defy gravity as it pumped through my veins. However we live in the “real world” right? A bite from an exotic spider would most probably leave me paralysed. Trust me; I have watched enough National Geographic to know that.
Although I wonder, what was it about this extraordinary people I saw on TV that was so appealing? Could it be how they always come out on top? Or maybe because they happen to be the world’s last hope? Why could I not be like that? My town does not even have a “Alphie signal” that illuminates the cloudy night sky when danger comes strutting in. Batman is so lucky.
But then again who cares? At the end of the day, this people are just fictional characters. They do the impossible and live in an ideal world that favours them tremendously. However I still wonder where their creators got their inspiration from.
The Holy Spirit gave me an interesting revelation about all these superheroes on TV; they all have a few things in common and they all follow a universal format in their lives.
Let’s take Spiderman for example. If you have watched any of the movies, you will remember that Peter Parker, the alter ego of spiderman, was an outcast. He was bullied in school, always missed the bus and the girl of his dreams never noticed him. Poor guy. However that is why he was the perfect candidate to be a superhero. He Understood what it meant to be an outcast. So even after he acquired his superpowers, he made it his mission to help those who were vulnerable. He did not try and become rich but instead sought to show those outcasts in the alleys and those who felt hopeless know that they are never alone.
Case 2: Batman. Bruce Wayne, the alter ego of Batman, is an interestingly sad case. Having lost his parents during a robbery in an alley while he was young (tear drop), he grew up with the desire to bring justice to Gotham city. Before we continue, I have one question. Bruce Wayne’s parents were wealthy; not rich – wealthy (yes, there is a difference, look it up), so why the heck were they walking home when they could have at least hired a cab? I mean, there are billionaires who use their private jets to go buy milk at the store down the road. Just joking, that would be stupid and it would be frustrating finding a parking spot. My point? They could have just drove home and avoided dangerous alleys. Once again, fictional characters, fictional world.
We might have derailed a bit, let’s get back on track. Batman had no superpowers. However that did not stop him from becoming a superhero, what made him super was his willingness to defend Gotham city. He was not much of an outcast like Spiderman but his childhood experience gave him the necessary drive to live out his life purpose; To bring justice to a corrupt city. He sacrificed a normal life in order to live a fulfilling life.
Remember how we got to this point? No? Well it was because I asked where the creators got the inspiration to write about this seemingly normal people who go on to do extraordinary things.
The Holy Spirit led me to the bible.
Spiderman, Superman and Batman all follow the same format. A format that had being set up by the bible; by God. Before you stop reading, hear me out. All the biblical heroes started as outcasts, losers or fearful man. However, unlike spiderman who was bitten, the man in the bible get their powers when they encounter God. Right?
Abraham was still living at his father’s house with his wife (not cool dude, you should have gotten your own place) when God shows up and tells him to move out (good call). In addition, God takes him to a place his never being to and tells him that He is giving him all the land he sees around him. God takes him from a man fully dependent on his earthly father for survival to a man who would birth nations.
Then we have the famous king David. Who happened to be just a shepherd when he was anointed king. Can you imagine how unbelievable that might have being. When everyone just saw was a shepherd, God saw a king. In addition, because David had known God intimately, he had the balls, uhm, I mean stones, to take on Goliath. We all know how that story ends (hopefully). This guy started from the bottom of society and went on to rule over that same society. How awesome is that? Despite the need for the society of that time to place those who were considered weak in seemingly boring jobs such as looking after sheep, David still rose to power because He had met his God; He had known His Creator therefore he knew who He was.
The bible is filled with people like this. As a matter of fact, anyone who had any tangible impact in the old and new testament was neither qualified nor properly trained for what they ended up accomplishing. While on the other hand, those who thought they could do it on their own served as a warning to anyone who read the bible. I guess the saying really is true; it’s not about what you know, it’s about Who you know. They knew God.
Amazing people and an amazing history about His story. The story of a God who takes what the world sees as worthless and uses that very thing to draw people to Him.
Anyway; I still think the most impressive superhero is Superman.
A friend of mine once explained why Superman was different from all these other superheroes. Spiderman had to be bitten by a spider, Iron man needs the suit to be useful and the Hulk had to be exposed to radiation because he could not do anything spectacular. However, Superman was born super. He was born as Superman and he became Clark Kent later on. Bruce Wayne only became Batman later on in his life. Likewise with almost all the superheroes except for Superman, being a superhero was not a decision, it was his identity.
Maybe, just maybe. We do not need to decide to be superheroes because it’s already in our DNA. I think I desired to be like these guys because they showed me my true identity. I related to them. Well, I still do. When I watched them live out their true purpose, it stirred a desire within me to become who I was always meant to be: a superhero.
Maybe David did not become a king later on in his life, he was born a king. Watching over sheep was simply an occupation, not his destiny. Abraham was born a father of nations, regardless of whether he overstayed his welcome at his father’s home. Peter was always a disciple maker even before he met Jesus.
I don’t think that we acquire our gifts later on in life, I think that our gifts and purpose are hardwired into us during manufacturing. It might be possibly be why we might work at a job we hate and have a desire for something better. It is most probably because we were never meant to live ordinary lives. Like Superman, we were born to save the world and no matter how long we deny our calling and decide to work as journalists, a fire will always burn within us, tugging at our soul, whispering into our ears and telling us, “You are a superhero!”
So I no longer watch these movies and wish I was a superhero. I know that I am a superhero. But just like David, Peter, Elijah and Abraham, it’s only by knowing my maker that I can know my purpose. This world does not need someone who can fly, have laser eyes or even the strength of a thousand man. Our crisis needs someone better, it needs you and I. We may not defy gravity but we will defy convention. We may not conquer an evil villain but I believe that we will conquer ourselves in order to make this world a much better place filled with God’s grace and mercy.
By embracing our true identity as superheroes, we inevitably allow others to know their maker – thereby knowing their purpose and true identity as well. Your city may not have a bat signal to call you for help but you are still needed. I am not saying it’s easy but it is simple. So take action, start being a superhero today. No cape required.
And if not for saving the world, just remember, Lois Lane and Mary Jane were attracted to the superhero and not the alter ego. Your identity identifies you with the right kind of beauty and the Godliness God has placed within you.