Night had already fallen and a sea of black surrounded us as we traveled the familiar roadway. The desert lay still, merely a darkened abyss as we made our way toward home. The night would occasionally be broken by the approach of headlights, a welcomed break from the eerie shroud of darkness all around us. But just as quickly as they appeared, they would again fade out of sight. We watched as they would pass, leaving their glow in the distance and a trace of red tail lights streaming behind in the rear view mirror. Once again darkness would engulf us. At last we crested the final peak of that mountainous roadway. The curtain of night was drawn and dancing in the valley below was a host of shimmering and twinkling lights to welcome us back home.
The endless mounds of rubble and debris lined the narrow street of what had once been the site of many of my fondest childhood memories. A visual example of ruin and destruction sprawled in front of me. Hurricane Michael had ravaged my father’s boyhood homeplace, the place we always came “home” too! It seemed unfathomable that it would never look the same again as it had been rendered all but unrecognizable. My heart sank as I sat gazing through the windshield and I couldn’t help but brush away the warm tears that trickled down my cheeks. I commented how grateful I was that my father wasn’t alive to see the nightmare-ish sight in front of me, and that I knew it would have broken his heart.
All of us like to remember special occasions and recognize various milestones throughout our lives. Most acknowledge and celebrate the passing of years, educational achievements, career advancements, or relational developments. We mark with grand gestures such notable occasions as weddings, the birth of children, engagements, and even the passing of aged loved ones. The parade of cheers and accolades echo long after the occasion has come and gone.
Across the big screen in a theater near you (and me), cinematographers have created larger than life avenging personalities for our entertainment and thrill. These characters are empowered with extravagant physical and mental abilities; and can defend the universe with their speed, strength, sharpness, and stamina. They embody capabilities that far exceed what is humanly possible and are virtually invincible.
When we face the most menacing of life’s obstacles, we often imagine ourselves being able to take on characteristics such as theirs; able to scale the tallest buildings, fly high above the rooftops, crush enemies beneath our feet, meld or transform into our surroundings or render ourselves invisible. Thus, conquering whatever life must throw at us in the most flamboyant manner and causing quite a stir in the process. The villains of life will have met their match and onlookers would watch in amazement! If only that were possible!
As a young girl I thought of my father as a bit of a super-hero. He seemed so brave, strong, fearless, and fabulous! He could absolutely do anything! I was totally in awe of him, and often walked around with my little feet slid down inside his combat boots trying to imagine being like him. He was tall, rugged, and a handsome military man with a commanding presence. He seemed so powerful to this little girl of 4 or 5. Whenever I needed anything, he could fix it! I knew that all would be righted again if I could just “tell my Daddy” about it, no matter what it was! I could crawl up in his lap, hear his reassuring words, feel his arms around me, and know that I was secure and loved.
Nothing delighted me more than to spend time with my super-hero. Whether I was watching him fix a car, tinker on a project, play his guitar, work in the yard, fly a helicopter, or stand in a pulpit to preach a sermon, he was SUPER! To this day, I have not known his equal. He was extraordinary, exceptional, and incredible to be around. Nothing could substitute for the feeling of being with this larger-than-life man! No villain, imagined or otherwise, could harm me just as long as I stayed in the shadow of my hero!
Just like that awe-struck child looking up at her Daddy, our heavenly Father longs to have us gaze into His presence with wide-eyed wonder, admiration, and awe. He longs to have us with Him, to dwell in safety and to stay by His side! He encourages us to rest in His shadow, away from all harm and danger! Psalm 91:1-4 says,
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress my God, in whom I trust.” Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
Just as an impressionable child idolizes and admires their earthly father, so our heavenly Father longs to have us feel about Him. He wants us to desire the sweetness of His fellowship and closeness; to listen intently when He speaks and thrill as He demonstrates His awesome power and presence in our lives. He is certainly worthy of our admiration and His power and might should indeed leave us awestruck and in wonder!
Better than Fiction
He is more than a Hollywood super-hero could ever capture and more than all imagination and creativity could ever portray. He is more than amazing, more than incredible, and more than our human frailty will ever comprehend! He is marvelous, miraculous, full of splendor, glory, power, and might! He is our Defender, our Warrior, Protector, God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, the true Super-Hero of all humanity! He has conquered our sin, triumphed over death, defeated hell, and the grave! He has thwarted the evil plans of our enemies, broken chains of despair and darkness; He is light eternal and He reigns victorious forevermore!
There has never been, nor will there ever be a Super-Hero greater! No, not in any theater, not on any stage; no one is more or better! He longs to write His autograph across the life pages of your heart and mine! He is hoping that you and I will realize that we have been given a front row seat for the best performance in history: His redemptive purchase of our very lives through the sacrifice of His own. Come near for an up-close and personal look! Come near and rest there; ever to remain in His shadow, the shadow of prevailing love and grace. Live in the shadow of a Hero, THE HERO, the Super-Hero Christ our Lord! Amen!
Read also: The love of a father
There is an old phrase that became widely used in the 1950’s that had it’s origins as far back as the early 1700’s. The phrase was this, “The proof is in the pudding!” You may even hear this phrase used from time to time today. The meaning behind this phrase is simple; it is stating a basic truth. If you want to know how good something is, (something edible in this case), you must try it or experience it for yourself! Then you will know!