SUPERHEROES OF OLD
We all need someone to look up to, like a role model who challenges us to be a better version of ourselves. While I was very little, my role models were characters from movies and TV shows. First, I was drawn to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Their vigilance in facing crime and fighting for the innocent —in their turtle-form—was appealing and entertaining. Later, my role model became none other than Superman himself. He remained my favorite hero for many years not only because he would fight injustice without killing, but because of his character; bold, compassionate, and confident. As humans, we want to connect with role models because they represent the transcendence of the flawed nature of humanity, which is to live into a higher calling; to be someone special. Why else do we consider these super-hero characters “larger than life“?
THE REAL SUPERHERO
After I discovered Jesus in my life in my twenties, He became my role model, which is when I had a perspective shift in what it really means to live larger than life.
Before I accepted Christ, life for me was without a purpose. What mattered to me at the time was validation and closure, which I found in the likings of music from Korn, Linkin Park, and Marilyn Manson. They validated my anger and fear after the shock of my parents’ divorce. Looking back, I’m aware God allowed the trauma to grab me from behind because He knew the aftermath.
After the divorce, my dad grew quiet and uninvolved with me, and I didn’t know what to make of it at the time. I witnessed him experience pain in a way I’d never seen him before, followed by the death of his parents only weeks before Christmas of the same year. Mom was also experiencing her own depression, and all the changes taking place took a toll on our relationship. Our family seemed to be crawling through Hell, and I couldn’t make sense of a loving God from that. I was afraid because I felt alone, without any answers as to how to keep going.
Years later, after exhaustive amounts of time spent in this malady, I was not only desperate for a reason to be alive, but to understand why I was desperate. I found it intriguing in such a morbid way that I wouldn’t kill myself, and yet, I kept asking myself what life was really for.
Was Jesus speaking through to me even though I wasn’t listening yet? Did the fact that I stayed alive despite multiple attempts to die have anything to do with the miraculous power that He had over my surroundings; encouraging me, even at bare minimum, that there was something worth living for? How can I, looking back, not acknowledge Jesus at work in my life at a time when I was not believing, surrendering, or reaching out to Him for help? How can I not say that wasn’t the intervention of a loving, Supreme Being who knows me better than I know myself?
MY PRAYER FOR YOU
What I believe, because of my experiences—is that the second Jesus knew I was ready with a softened heart, He flooded Himself into my life. I write this to you so you’ll know you’re not alone in your pain. God sees you and wants to help you.
My prayer is that you would find peace, even in your pain; that you would find the grace from God to forgive those who’ve hurt you, and peace inside from the trouble you’re facing. Jesus is the reason I keep going, and I pray He will be yours. When you can’t feel His closeness, I pray you will seek Him by name. I believe in His love, even when I’m too rigid in my shame to receive it from Him. May you find it in yourself to seek Him above all the rest of your priorities in life, and that you would ask Him to restore you.
Often I reminisce just to look over the differences in my life since I accepted Christ, and every time I do, I realize how blind I was when I was closed off from Jesus. I understand it all happened in its own timing according to God’s will. He knew how long I’d need to accept Him, but He didn’t push harder than He knew He should.
Jesus’s love, and the hope which comes from His resurrection, brings me more satisfaction than anything this world has to offer. May God bless you as you choose to search for Him and may you recognize His goodness, even in your pain.
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