Being Like Superman
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." ~John 14:1-7
Growing up, I never got into comic books. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them or have respect for them, I just wasn’t into them, I was into collecting baseball cards. Despite not being into comics I still took it upon myself to know a little bit about superheroes, mostly what I got from friends or TV shows. I can remember Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk and Linda Carter as Wonder Woman, however they might have just been reruns. I remember when Christopher Reeves was Superman and when Michael Keaton was Batman. One of my favorite shows as a kid growing up was the Justice League. In that cartoon all of the good DC characters were a part of the Justice League where the bad guys were apart the Legion of Doom.
Today, because of blockbuster movies like Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman, X-men and The Avengers, super heroes are everywhere. Because they are everywhere, I have found myself in my mid-30’s having to educate myself on superheroes just so I can field the questions that my children ask about superheroes. One of their favorite shows they watch is Teen Titans, which depicts many of the popular superheroes as teenagers trying to figure things out.
Superheroes have become a pretty big thing in our house. For instance, for Halloween this year, Trey (7) was Hawkeye, Savannah (4) was Wonder Woman, Jude (2) was Superman, Becca was Lois Lane and I was Clark Kent. Trey is growing his hair out to be like Thor. This isn’t just a boy thing; even my daughter likes this Teen Titans so much that we have a dog named Raven, after a female superhero named Raven.
Trey has started collecting comic books – most of these given to him by a good friend, and one of my former college students works at a comic book shop to help pay for college. He used to take Trey there or bring him some comics as well as action figures, and this made Trey like comics even more. Trey bounces back and forth between who he likes, typically on what video or movie he has just watched. Savannah likes Raven, hence our dog, but I would say her favorite is Wonder Woman, however she doesn’t really know any thing about Wonder Woman - her lasso of truth, her Amazonian upbringing, or her invisible jet. She simply likes the fact that she was an Amazonian Princess. Jude on the other hand LOVES Superman.
When I say LOVES it really should be LOVES!!! He has three Superman shirts that he rotates, superman underwear, red shorts that he loves to wear. He loves Superman so much that we had to get Savannah a Supergirl shirt, as well as Trey and I our own Superman shirts. If you stopped by the Rummage Sale on Saturday of the Sale, you would have seen that it was Superman Saturday and all four of us had our Superman shirts on. (To be fair to Savannah, one in three Saturdays are Supergirl Saturdays). We will get up on Saturdays and find our shirts and put them on and wear them wherever we go for the day. Jude is always the good guy while Trey and Daddy often have to take on the role of Bizarro (a bad Superman…I told you I had to learn my stuff) as we are the bad guys.
The interesting thing about Jude’s obsession with Superman is that, when asked, I have always said my favorite Superhero was Superman as well. I never really thought too hard about it, but Superman has always been my favorite. A few months ago when Trey asked me who my favorite Superhero was, (he does this when he changes his mind and he wants me to ask him), I said “Superman”, as I usually do, and Trey went on a tirade of his new favorite character and why he liked him so much. I could see the passion and the thought that he had for his choice, a choice that I really didn’t think much about…Until that day…
I started to think what was it about Superman that drew me to him? Was it his farm boy roots, as I grew up next to a cornfield? Was it his ability to shoot lasers from his eyes? The fact that he could fly, or run really fast? Was it the fact that he could see through things? I don’t know. As I was pondering why Superman, I had the chance to watch the latest Superman “Man of Steel” and something dawned on me. Superman has a weakness, Kryptonite, which are fragments of his home planet, yet Superman gets his power from the earth’s sun. With this, I realized that besides the super powers, Superman resembles what it means to be a Christian.
How is Superman like a Christian? I will tell you. When Superman is around home planet Krypton, it makes him weak, he can get hurt, bleed, and even die. However, when he rests in the light of the sun, he is strong; he still can feel pain, but the pain is negated by the power of the sun. When he takes time to gain his power from the sun, anything is possible, even jumping over buildings in a single bound. The same is true for us. When we find ourselves wrapped in our daily problems, the things of our home planet, we often feel weak. We feel vulnerable. When we surround ourselves in the things of this world, like Superman and Krypton, we often get hurt when we live for this world. Anxiety sets in, and we get depressed or angry. The weakness of sin in our life often takes hold and separates us from God. Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Unlike Superman, who only has to deal with things of his world on a rare occasion, we have to deal with things of our world every single day, making every day a battle against sin and darkness that is all around us. This can be an overwhelming thought, unless we decide to walk in the light of Jesus the Son. Superman gets his strength from basking in light of the sun; we too can get our strength to overcome this world by spending time in glory of the Son. The Son is where we get our strength to face our problems. The Son is where we should turn when things seem dark. We are told that the power of the Son has overcome death and sin, setting us free from the bondage of this world, and putting us on the way to God.
In John 14:6-7 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." This is the truth of the power of the Son that we have. It is through the power of Jesus Christ that we are saved, not by any thing that we do.