God’s Heroes Have Strength—Inside Hero Central

Fathers Day Photo

Psalm 34:1-14 (NIV)

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

We truly are living in a time of heroes. Not the fictional superheroes we read about but everyday heroes. People never viewed as heroes. With the evil COVID-19 still among us, it’s easy to see who those heroes are. They will be the heroes writers will write about in times to come.

            There’s a story entitled The Sandbox about a small boy, a sandbox, and a stone. It’s meaning is significant. In summary, the little boy is playing in his sandbox one Saturday morning. With all the necessary toys around him to create roads and tunnels, he finds a large rock. Now the rock isn’t just lying there on the side of the sandbox. It’s right smack dab in the middle of the sandbox, blocking any progress he might make.

            The little boy begins the task of removing the rock. After several minutes of digging around the rock, he finally gets it out of the dirt. But he still must get it out of the way and preferably out of the sandbox so he can continue with his building project. Now the rock isn’t small. In fact, it’s huge and he’s not. After a good bit of pushing first with his hands and then his feet, he finally pushes the rock to the edge of the sandbox.

            Try as he might he can’t get the rock up over the wall of the sandbox. The feat has now become a quest and the little boy is determined. Unfortunately, every time he thinks he’s going to succeed the rock simply won’t cooperate. It tips over and falls back into the sandbox. No matter how hard he works at getting rid of the rock his efforts fail. He finds no reward.

            The little boy bursts into tears in utter frustration. All this time his father has been watching the little boy’s struggles. As tears roll down his face a large shadow falls across him. The little boy looks up to see his father standing beside the sandbox. In a firm voice, the father inquires as to why the little boy didn’t use all the power and strength available to him. The little boy feels so defeated and through his tears, he tells his father that he really did use everything he had. But his father corrects him and tells him he didn’t. He tells the little boy that he didn’t ask him for help. So the father reaches down into the sandbox, picks up the rock, and removes it.

            I love that story as it shows us we need only ask our Father in heaven for help when we find ourselves trying to remove an obstacle from our path.

Do we define strength as a person or a superhero? Is strength the ability to move a rock? How about a mountain?

            This passage (Psalm 34:1-14) is a statement of strength. It may even be the definition.

            Look at the word strong—David who slew the Giant Goliath, later became a great king and warrior. Is that being strong?

            David’s life was like a soap opera. He was very human—messy, honest, and real. If you read 1 Samuel 21:10 you see that David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. He’s in Gath and someone recognizes him. When he’s recognized he pretends to be insane. Here’s how verse 13 reads: So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Here we see David, the great warrior. Or was he the great drooler? To his credit, David looks to God during a time of trial, shame, and fear.

This scripture is a Psalm of David when he feigned madness before Achish who drove him away and he departed. We can all relate to times of fear, shame, and weakness. However, we have an opportunity to define strength. We can position our life toward God. We’re called to boast in the Lord. We also know that in addition to needing God we find that when we need one another strength emerges.

            Do we seek peace? Do we do good deeds? Do we just stand by? Well, Wonder Woman says, “NO!” to standing by. So does Superman. No real hero simply stands by and watches. If they’re asked to help. They’re gonna help.

            Praying through our doing. We must pray as we take on tasks and trials. It’s like going after that divine light in the world. The scripture instructs us to taste and see the Lord is good. The little boy who couldn’t move the rock thought he’d used all his strength because he never asked his father to help.

            Brené Brown wrote The Manifesto of the Brave and Broken Hearted. It’s amazing. You’ll have to look it up because I can’t print it here. But I can give you a taste of it:

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

            As Father’s Day approaches do you think of your father as a hero? One with power and strength. I know I do. My daddy was a great man. A military man. A man who served this country with honor. A man who fought in two wars—WWII and Korea. A man who loved my mother and me unconditionally. A man who would give his life for ours. I lost my daddy in 1995. Father’s Days are still difficult for me even after all these years. He taught me many things. But the lessons I strive for the most are to always be honest, respectful of others, hardworking, and never back down from a fight or give up my values under any circumstances. He was a hero.

            During this time of COVID-19, the other heroes must be thanked. The first responders. Those on the front line. The doctors and the nurses. All the people who have kept our country going. Truckers, factory workers, the military, fire and police departments. Grocery store workers. Researchers. All the people who have given of their talents and their time. Risking their lives to keep us all safe. Showing us what strength in the moment. Heroes one and all. Thank you.

            Showing up is our power. Being light amid the darkness. How will you define strength?

This Father’s Day will come and go but I’ll always be my daddy’s biggest fan.

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!