When JJ discovered that he could check out movies for free from the library last fall, the library quickly became the place to be for a quiet family evening out. We were easily there every Wednesday and had our routine down pat. JJ would head to the movie section while I would race after Liam, who would make a beeline for the children’s section where the community toys were kept. We would then meet up in the movie section a little later on so that JJ could show me what videos he had found while I nodded distractedly and tried to keep a squirming toddler from running off.
We watched some good movies during that time. Both of us like films based off of true stories, so we mostly gravitated towards that genre. Some of our favorites were McFarland, The 33, Operation Finale, Twelve Strong, and Breakthrough.
Since nothing beats free, and new movies didn’t make their way to the library all that often, we found ourselves checking out some of these films a second time a month or so later, then a third and fourth time when family came to town. Some stories never get old.
The more we watched these movies, the more I noticed the following pattern among the majority of these films:
- The main characters were just average people living ordinary lives.
- An event or series of circumstances destined them for a greater story which involved an enormous obstacle to overcome.
- They chose to believe that the final outcome to their story did not have to be as bleak as their current circumstances suggested.
- They persevered in the midst of their trials, which inspired others to find faith and hope as well.
Ultimately, each of these stories were about men and women who emerged to become real-life heroes, not because they sought out the opportunity but rather because destiny gave them the chance to decide. And they took that opportunity; they rose under pressure.
When I was first pondering these thoughts in January, I believed it must be rare to be presented with such an opportunity. Although most of us can share about trials and obstacles we have overcome, most of our stories do not elevate us to a hero-level. We are just average people living ordinary lives.
Little did I know of the story that was about to unfold this year—one that would include a worldwide pandemic, and a quarantine and the social distancing regulations that would ensue.
COVID-19 has presented us all with a unique opportunity this year. We have been thrust into a situation where we must decide if we will emerge and be the real-life hero. We have been destined for this moment. Will we rise or fall?
In all honestly, we may do both. I know I have. I have tried to rise above these present-day circumstances and encourage people through writing, but the next moment I’m crying over a sentimental toilet paper commercial and asking my two-year old for a hug.
The truth is, we all need a hero. None of us are immune to the damage this illness is inflicting on society, nor are we impervious to getting sick or seeing a loved one get sick because of it. And we certainly are not unsusceptible to the range of emotions that the current events of the day can bring.
We all need a hero. We need a hero that will inspire us to have faith and to keep on hoping, one that will remind us that the final outcome of our story does not have to be as bleak as our current circumstances suggest. And we need one to help us overcome our enormous obstacles, because none of us can overcome them alone.
We all need a hero, and fortunately we have one if we are willing to call upon Him. He is ready to answer us even before we do.
We must not think that He is a hero like any other, however. He is limitless, all powerful, and without equal. No one can outwit Him or undermine Him, and His kingdom will never be overthrown. Nonetheless, He doesn’t necessarily choose to save everyone like a super-hero in the movies would. Not in the way we would expect Him to, at least. And we do ourselves a disservice when we try to demand that of Him or command Him to answer our prayers as we see fit.
After all, He tells us the following in His Word:
…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV
So how are we to find comfort in a hero that may or may not save us from death and everything happening in our world today?
We find it when we realize that we face a far greater obstacle than physical death, but He has made a way for us to overcome it.
The truth is, as much as COVID-19 is a concern in our time, it is merely a side plot for a much grander story in the making. God has been writing this story since before time began, and although we may see ourselves as average people living ordinary lives, He has destined us for a far greater story in which He sent His Son into the world to overcome our greatest obstacle—our separation from God through sin.
We were never meant to be the hero of this story, but we were meant to know the Hero. We were meant to find faith in the One who has overcome our greatest obstacle. And through that faith, we were meant to believe that the final outcome of our story—our COVID-19 story and otherwise—does not have to be as bleak as current circumstances may suggest, because He is the one that helps us to persevere in the midst of every trial we face, and that inspires others to find faith and hope through it all as well.
No matter what happens and what the weeks and months may bring, let’s keep this perspective. Let’s remember that Jesus has saved us for the life to come, the one that matters most. And let’s lean into Him and ask Him to help us be more like Him every day so that we can show others who He is, because just as we need a hero every day, the world does too. We all need a hero, and Jesus is the best one that anyone could ever have.