True Heroes

Psalm 16 makes me think about the qualities that make one a true hero. I applaud the daily sacrifices of those who chose to put their lives in danger to protect mine. The world is filled with such people, and I thank God for all of them. I realized yesterday, as I read David’s psalm, that there is another kind of hero I tend to ignore. David knew about heroes; he was famous for killing a giant when only a small boy. He gave credit for the kill, but I admire him for his willingness to do God’s will. That makes him a true hero like the ones in his psalm.

Keep me safe, O God,
    for I have come to you for refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
    Every good thing I have comes from you.”
The godly people in the land
    are my true heroes!
    I take pleasure in them!
Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
    I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
    or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
    You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
    What a wonderful inheritance!

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
    My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
    or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you forever. (NLT)

There is joy, gladness, pleasure, and safety in knowing that God is right beside me. David knew God was always with him and had an intimacy with The Creator that allowed him to be a hero.

I stopped for a moment yesterday and thought of all the godly people in my life. I was taken aback by how quickly so many came to mind and how varied they were. While at lunch yesterday, I ran into one of my former coworkers. He was a janitor who took a great deal of pride in his work. He was, and still is, truly a godly man. After talking to him for a few minutes, I realized he was a true hero like the ones in David’s psalm. What a blessing to look into his peace-filled eyes and see a man who did difficult and dirty work for years with a smile and a gentle manner.

Heroes aren’t meek and mild in books and movies, but I see a glimpse of Jesus in those meek heroes who go about doing God’s will without making much ado about it. Jesus was a mild mannered man who didn’t live up to the heroic expectations of those around Him, and He was killed because of it. I’m glad God put Psalm 16 in my path this week to help me remember to stop and notice the true heroes that literally surround me.

A minister once told me that Jesus was a bleeding lamb; He is a bleeding lamb, and He will always be a bleeding lamb. Most want a hero who is a warrior, and they can’t wait to watch Jesus wreak havoc on their enemies when He returns. The world doesn’t like a meek hero and probably never will, but God made it clear in the life of His Son that is exactly the kind of hero He has in mind for His world.

My Hero
My Hero

The Worth of Weakness

Hebrews 5:2 says of the high priest “he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;” (NASB) Those words show clearly the worth of weakness. All are weak, but not all are willing to admit weakness. Our society looks down on weakness, and meekness is certainly not a trait we value. That is never more obvious than during an election year:)

We are all human beings, and the author of Hebrews is saying that is a good thing. Acknowledging weakness builds a bridge between us as we share the suffering sin inevitably brings. Jesus can relate to our suffering, and he is a compassionate Savior who can relate to our sin because He carried all our sins with Him to His cross.

Human beings are vulnerable and weak and always will be. In recognizing my own weaknesses, I am able to relate to the those in my path. At the heart of God’s truth, if I am willing to hear it, is the inescapable fact that I am a sinner. I must come to a place of knowing and understanding that to accept the forgiveness He offers and begin to walk in His kingdom.

God became human so he could relate to us, and that is at the root of Hebrews 5:2. Even more compelling is the description of Christ’s prayer in verses 7-10 “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.  Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,  being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” (NASB) When I think of Jesus crying out to God and learning obedience from His suffering, I am humbled and comforted as never before.  As I cry out, my tears are caught by hands that hear and sympathize as only those who have traveled the same path can. Christ never sinned, but He did take on mine and understands my heart in a way that makes me want to obey and experience the joy He has in mind for me. He knows exactly how it feels to want God to reach down and fix problems and take away pain, but He also knows that will only make things worse.

Fixing and enabling teaches dependence not obedience. It is human nature to want to fix weakness instead of allow it to takes its natural course and create the environment necessary to learn obedience. Nothing hurts more than seeing our children hurt, and God knows that better than any one. Nothing hurts our children more than making the path too easy and taking obstacles out of their way. It’s a most difficult lesson, and even Christ cried out for His Father to take away His cup. Obedience is not about control. In fact, it is about letting go of control. That letting go leads to joy, and that’s why God won’t take away our suffering. He knows it’s necessary in order for us to learn obedience and find the joy He has in mind for us.

While there is no end to the cycle of sin, suffering, and obedience as long as I am in this body, there is also no end to the joy that comes when I respond with an obedient, trusting heart. That is the abundance God promises when I understand the worth of weakness and humble myself in obedience to Him.  God’s Holy Spirit will help me when it comes to obeying, and that will lead to joy. Coming face to face with my imperfections is part of His perfect plan. It is what knowing God is all about:)