From the time that I was a little girl, I have always loved hero stories. Even now, these are my favorite stories to teach. A hero receives a call to adventure, grabs a couple of friends, departs for an unknown world, manages the trials and crises, and then returns home, triumphant with a prize that regales the people with his bravery and heroism. In fact, my fondest memories are centered around watching a show or movie about a hero and then acting out the roles with my BFFs. First, it was the Ninja Turtles, then Power Rangers and Captain Planet, but I rarely wanted to be THE hero. Typically, I chose the ‘weakest’ hero or even the ‘damsel in distress’. My favorite thing was pretending I needed to be rescued–and then feeling a RUSH when I was–even if it was only from make-believe monsters and villains.
As a child, it was easy for me to embrace the weaknesses and recognize that heroes should be greater than I.
As an adult, well, it’s a lesson I still have to learn sometimes…okay, a lot of times…okay, daily.
In Psalm 71, David is quick to recognize his own weaknesses: “Rescue me and deliver me into your righteousness,” he calls. And then, “turn your ear and save me.” The poet cries out. Because heroes must receive a call to action for the adventure to begin, and it is only through the adventure that rescuing can occur. As a child, I thrilled in my voice echoing through the neighborhood, signaling to my ‘hero’ I needed help, but today I often let my pride overcome that inner desire for a hero to rescue me. And I remain silent.
It is in that silence that I am bound and captive.
My hero wants to save me. He keeps the lines open and his ears tuned in…waiting…but I do not call.
And without that call, my hero’s Status Quo remains stagnant. No growth can happen unless my hero and I take that adventure head on.
My enemy seizes this opportunity–thrilled to strike while I am still bound. They say, “God has forsaken him [or her]; pursue him [or her] for no one will rescue him [or her]” (v. 11).
Because you simply cannot be rescued if you don’t call for help. Even David, a mighty and brave warrior recognized this: “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help […] and save the needy from death”(72:12-13)
And so I dig deep, searching for the little girl I once was. The girl who thrilled to be rescued, who realized that only when you are weak and vulnerable will your hero come and save you. Because the proud and strong don’t see the need for a hero. They shut him out and claim “I’m okay” and “I can do it myself”.
But I can’t.
The weaker I become, the stronger I must lean on the original hero.
Really, the only hero.
Because my God “will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon and through all the generations” (72:5), which is what all heroes aim to achieve, but only the ultimate hero can, and will, achieve!