The heart of a hero

I’ve always liked Captain America. There’s just been something about him. That scrawny kid who became a hero. But there’s also the pain and loss of being out of time and place. He lived in the 40’s and fought in World War II. Yet due to his extreme health and the super soldier serum, he managed to survive being frozen in the Arctic for a generation.

When the film came out last summer, I’ll admit, I geeked out. I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theaters but was thrilled to have gotten it for Christmas. The movie hit me even more about the heart of a hero. What I loved the most was that the story wasn’t about Captain America but about Steve Rogers–the scrawny kid with a heart of a hero. No matter how many times he was beat down, he was defeated, he stood up to bullies, he stood up for what was right and just. This was pre-super soldier serum too. The strength within him was amazing compared to his size.

I wonder about my own strength. I haven’t been able to lift or box for a long while and it makes me worried about getting out of the habit. But it’s not just the physical strength I’m worried about losing but the spiritual strength. That strength that helps me keep going on. I’ve taken to hiking now for my time to refresh, renew and refocus. And even that’s a bit hard on the knees. And so I worry about being defeated by my own self.

That’s what I like about Captain America (spoiler alert) even when he had been frozen for years, even though he lost everything he knew, he still kept his cool. He could have easily lost it when he found out he was no longer in the 40’s. But he didn’t. Even then his resolve stood the test of despair. I wonder if I could ever handle it the way he did.

I’ve been preaching through the book of Nehemiah. It is a book about rebuilding, restructuring and revival. It is a book about the people coming back to God. They weep and mourn the fact that they hadn’t been following God as God had asked. Then Nehemiah said this to the:

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

I worry about my own physical strength and know that it’ll never amount to Cap. And I worry about my own inner strength, my own inner resolve and I know that it’ll never add up to Steve Rogers.

He had strength, a strength more than just in body but in spirit. He was strong, not weak. Yet I know I am weak. I know that even at my best, I was still weak. And it hurts me to think about that weakness. I don’t like to admit that weakness.

But then I hear these words from Jesus

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

The apostle Paul responds to this when he says

When I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

This makes me realize that I do have strength like Steve Rogers, that inner strength that comes form an understanding of what is right and just. I have the strength found in Christ, knowing that I belong to him.

No matter what comes at me, no matter what I go through, I know with assurnace

I can do all things through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13

And so, even though I’m weak and scrawny at times like Steve Rogers was, I also know that my inner strength comes only from Christ and Christ alone. It is this strength that I have that can keep me going, that can keep me moving.

And it does and it will.


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