Everyone loves a hero. The literature, mythology, and even historical narratives of every culture include countless tales of the heroic. There is just something special about that one character in the tale that, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, stands in the way of the malevolent force and overcomes. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and they use a variety of methods to forge their victories, but in the end they do overcome.
Some use ingenuity, like Odysseus, who recognizing his own weakness, avoided the call of the Sirens by having himself bound to the mast of his vessel. Others summon incredible courage to go where, or do what, others fear. We see that in Beowulf, pursuing the dragon into its lair at Earnanæs where, after having his sword broken and being mortally wounded, he ended the beast with his dagger. Then there are heroes like Samson, who typically overcame his adversaries not with courage, or ingenuity, but with incredible physical strength. Whether they use any of these “abilities” or something else to facilitate their conquering, they all follow the common thread of overcoming the insidious for some greater and noble good.
Perhaps it is the very idea of struggle that resonates with us, for we all have our struggles. It may be the concept of good vs evil that brings us close to these characters, because all of us, whether religious or not, tend to believe that we live in a world where the struggle between the better and worse is constant. I suppose for some it may be a certain sense of individualism, me against the world, that causes us to identify with the hero characters in these tales.
Whatever the cause, not only do we love a hero, we also tend to see ourselves as the hero character in our story. Now certainly it is natural for all of us to view the world through a first person lens and to have an internal narrator that treats ourselves as the main character. However, there is something deeper in this propensity to accept the role of hero. For most of us, there are very real things against which we struggle, very real forces against which we find ourselves in combat, and very real problems that we must navigate as we walk out our lives. Further, when we look around, we cannot identify anyone who is stepping up to conquer these foes, and if no one else will, it may simply have to be us.
So, whether by desire or by default, we find ourselves in the role of hero. Either no one else can conquer the issues in our life, or no one else will. It is all up to us.
What a burden! Yet many of us are trying to bear it. We bear the burden of fixing our dysfunctional relatives. We feel we are the conqueror of all social ills. We find ourselves thinking that if only we could muster enough courage, or creativity, or capacity, we would be able to fix all that is wrong in our lives or maybe even in the lives of those around us.
Then comes reality. We try. We fail. We try again. We fail again. If we are heroes, we surely are not very good at it. Yet we tell ourselves that we must try again, because either no one else can or no one else will.
But, what if I told you someone already had? What if I told you that you are not the hero? What if I told you that you will never have the ability to conquer the ills in the world, but that someone else already did? What if I told you that you were not the Messiah your family needs? What if I told you this story already has a hero, already has a Messiah? What if I told you His name is Jesus?
Fighting battles He already won will only leave you defeated and dejected. Trying to fix things that only He can will leave you frustrated every time. He is the Hero. You are not. He wins. You just enjoy His wins.
It is time to stop being the Hero and start putting your faith in the only Hero this story actually has. Maybe you should do more praying and less planning. Maybe you should start trusting Him to fix them. It could be high time to release yourself from bearing the burden of being the fixer of all things, doer of all deeds, and rescuer of all the distressed. That is too much for you. After all, you are not the hero.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” -Jesus
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