The enormous popularity of the Marvel movie franchise suggests Americans today are hungry for heroes. Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man—these and other fictional comic book characters have inspired countless fans who eagerly view each new movie or TV series that comes along.
I myself am a fan of superhero movies in general. There is reason, amid this trend, to be both encouraged and perhaps a little discouraged too. Here’s what I mean.
On the positive side, the superhero boom shows that people always want someone to admire, to cheer for, to fight the bad guys in the epic battle between good and evil. Moreover, many of these movie characters embody some of the best qualities a person could want: truthfulness, protecting the weak, even patriotism.
On the other hand, superheroes can detract from real-life heroes. If young people only admire fictional heroes and forget about everyday life heroes, we miss something.
After reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, who served bravely in the military and also reinvigorated America at a key time in history, I can see why prior generations considered him a hero and put his face on Mount Rushmore.
These days, we seem to be awash in superheroes but lacking for real heroes. We stand in need of heroes. Real heroes can come in the form of soldiers, teachers, nurses, a mother or father. It could be a grandparent, a writer or a first responder.
We do not need people with a cape, but we do stand desperately in need of heroes today. For Christians, we read about heroes of the faith in Hebrews chapter 11 in the Bible. Some of the names you’d expect to see: Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses and David. Other names on the list are more obscure, but no less inspiring: Gideon, Rahab and Samuel.
The Bible upholds these outstanding individuals because of their faith. Later in Hebrews, the author talks about Christians finding examples to follow. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7).
Notice those words. “Consider”—to think about, observe or ponder. Then “imitate”—be like them, walk in their path.
None of us will run faster than a speeding bullet. No one will be able to don a cape and fly like superman. And truthfully, apart from the Holy Spirit’s work, none of us can have faith like those the Bible mentions.
But by God’s grace, we can and find heroes of the faith walking the earth today. And we can rediscover and be inspired by others—from Bible times to today—and emulate them.
Yes, we need a hero. And we need to call on God to raise up these men and women in our generation.