And just in case your not familiar with the television series that aired from 2001 - 2011, the show's premise covers the early times of Clark Kent in his home town of Smallville, before he went on to be known as "Superman."
Although the show ended years ago, two episodes air daily in my broadcast area. It satisfies my fascination with the conflict of "good" (the alien sent to earth by his father to save the world) vs. "evil" (Lex Luthor raised by a nefarious maniacal billionaire out to own the world and expose our hero as a freak and a failure). It's a Father sending His Son to save the world and an enemy out to show the world the Savior is no hero.
Does the storyline sound familiar?
Oswald Chambers offers great insight into our culture's obsession with "hero" worship as it applies spiritually:
"Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for - love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men - will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. THEN there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will NEVER be defeated."
The iconic catch-phrase of Superman, "truth, justice and the American Way," has resonated with audiences of all ages since he first appeared in comic books in 1938. Even though we are a long way (in every way) from the society in need of a hero (vs villains like Hitler and Mussolini) we still love to worship those who beat the odds, but are quick to vilify them when their humanity (sin) is exposed (I'm thinking Lance Armstrong types).
In some ways we are all striving to be Clark Kent, but harboring a little bit of Lex when we learn of a "hero" succumbing to "kryptonite."
You see, I'm addicted to Smallville.
When I'm watching the humility of the young Kent farm boy struggling to fit in with his peers, getting bullied and duped by just about every character in the plot, I yell at the TV calling for him to use his superpowers and burn them with his super heated x-ray vision, or toss them on the garbage heap with an incredible force of strength. And I confess, in prayers I'm also making similar utterances to Jesus when the news reports some injustice, tragedy or plain old political log jam. But so did His disciples:.
"When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, "Lord should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?" Luke 9:54
I want immediate action, a visible victory, and a fist-pumping-end-zone-dancing kind of triumph. There's enough in my life and circumstances to make me "feel" like a loser, a freak and a failure. I want some "Superman Jesus" action to show MY hero is here to "save the day."
But somewhere in my addiction to Smallville I started to think Jesus was like Clark Kent; mild mannered by day but in a crisis He is Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, AND able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Wow!
Except there's a problem with that analogy. Superman is crippled by kryptonite. The other day, as I was transfixed by an episode while making my bed, I saw Clark crumple to the floor overwhelmed by the green rays of a kryptonite rock being used by his nemesis. It was then that a new paradigm occurred to me:
Jesus is not like Superman!
I'm sure some of you reading this are shaking your head and maybe muttering, "DUH, that clown, what is she thinking, and what is she really trying to say?"
Jesus has NO KRYPTONITE that can make Him weak! Nothing on earth or in heaven from some distant planet will make Him drop to his knees.
What I'm trying to say in my make-everything-about-Smallville way, as a weakened hero battles to get away from the destructive power of the mineral from his planet of origin BAM! I saw WE are "Superman(s)." It is us, the Father has sent out into the world to "seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly." (Micah 6:8) We can probably leave off "in the American Way," since the government shut down does offer much confidence in our way is The Way.
The Way is! The Truth IS our Savior isn't weakened by anything, but we are. And like Clark Kent, we find ourselves affected and unable to do our "super hero" duties by a variety of different forms of "kryptonite." Ours might be fear, unworthiness, addictions, loneliness, financial or pick a headline from the nightly news. Clark's abilities and personality changed when encountering Black, Red, Blue, White, or the most common Green kryptonite. These were all elements from his planet of origin, and in some ways I think "elements" from our human origin are what weaken us as well.
"Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face." 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Message
But remember at the center of my paradigm is understanding I am no longer of this world, greater and grander things are ahead.
"By an act of faith (I) said yes to God's call to travel to an unknown place... (I) did it by keeping my eye on an unseen city with real eternal foundations - the City designed and built by God." Hebrews 11:10 The Message (paraphrased by me)
I don't know what current "kryptonite" you may feel is exerting a crippling effect on your relationships, your family, your job, or your ministry. It could be financial, the government, the world, the flesh or the devil. I know what it feels like to be balled up in a fetal position listening to the enemies taunting lie that I'm a failure and so is my God.
"Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Mark 4:38 KJV
Living by "faith" is often living "through" the tempest of life on a boat of circumstances that you are convinced will be the death of you. When you find yourself on that "page" of your story, the one where it "feels" like the Master is sleeping, take courage super heroes His Word is a lighthouse in the storm:
"So, what do you think? With God on our side like this how can we lose? ...and who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even point a finger? The One who died for us- who was raised to life for us - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us." Romans 8:31-37 The Message
Like Oswald said that is the time for spiritual perseverance to kick in, "...not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will NEVER be defeated."
Take that all you Lex Luthors
Unfurling my cape
With a smile
Up up and away
In His service!
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