“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
My daughter wants to be Supergirl when she grows up.
I’m so proud.
Honestly, though, when it comes to dreams, this one isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. My daughter wants to be a hero. She wants to fight the bad guys, defend the powerless, and, yes, wear the costume.
While the costume may be a bit too much for our culture, the other desires line up quite well with God’s purposes for us.
I contend that we all want to be heroes. We all want to be super. The desire rings through our greatest stories: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, Tale of Despereaux, to name a few.
J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S Lewis, E.B. White, Kate DiCamillo, all recognize the human’s desire for significance, and all chose to write for children. Because what do Hobbits, the Pevensies, Charlotte, and Despereaux all have in common? They are small lives facing insurmountable opposition: war, death, prejudice, conspiracy. But each has a destiny bigger than themselves. The lives of each impact countless others through their selfless acts of bravery.
These small heroes are anything but small. They stand upon conviction, side-by-side with family, friends, each with their own fellowship, they use the gifts they have been given, fight the enemy, and win the day. There is loss. There is triumph.
Adults have suffered more loss than we realize because we have lost sight of our desire to be super. Our lives wear on and things like fear, self-doubt, and false humility cloud our potential. We fear it is prideful to hope for greatness. We stop believing we can be heroes.
What is a superhero? Typically he or she is flawed, possesses some power or talent, and chooses to use that talent to benefit the greater good. Superheroes have limits. They can’t save everyone. Their flaws remind them of their humanity. The greatest superheroes have a fellowship alongside whom they fight, a cause for which they fight, and have to work for the day won from a place of humility.
As believers in the One True God, we are superheroes. We are flawed, sinners saved by grace. In Christ we have great power. Our touch, our words, our knowledge of the Lord’s truth – His Word – are powerful. God has gifted us with talents and spiritual gifts. We are members of one Body, and we have one purpose: to glorify God.
It’s a different kind of battle: a battle for hearts and souls. We are a different kind of superhero. We must find a common ground with those with whom we disagree. Know who you are and to whom you belong and engage. Fight for hope. Respect humanity. Have courage. Extend grace. Love.
Love is infectious. Love God. Love yourself. Love your family. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. We are a new breed of superhero, for “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” 1 Corinthians 1:27.
The greatest superhero of all time has no flaw or limit. His sacrifice saves everyone who believes. He is immortal. Yet He died. It is in His death and resurrection that He defeats death itself. He defeats sin. We have power through Him. We can face insurmountable odds. We can defend the powerless, free the captive. Because humanity is held captive by sin. And even if there is only one who does not believe, God cares. So should we.
It is important that we believe this about ourselves – that we are superheroes by our fellowship with the greatest superhero – Jesus – because we hold a great responsibility in motherhood. That is to not cloud what our children naturally believe. We can cultivate or destroy our children’s creativity, independence, courage, boldness. It is difficult for us to refrain from applying the “reality filter” we have permanently installed from our own experience that things don’t always work out and dreams can fall flat. But we must. Because our children still have a chance. Our children can change the world, and so can we – one person, one battle, one day at a time.
We need to be children. Children love. We are called to love. It is our greatest superpower.
Join the conversation!
What is a dream your child has?
What is a dream you have?
How can these dreams be used as your superpowers to glorify God and love others?