Jesus is Better than an Action Hero
Recently, my pastor sent out his weekly thought to the congregation via email. His weekly thought started out something like this: “I love a good adventure story…In most of these stories, the ’hero’ is thrust into an impossible situation where there is no hope of escape and he or she will surely die…But, somehow, at the last second, and against all odds, our ‘hero’ pulls it out, the bad guy goes down…and our hero walks off into the sunset…”
This short introduction really got me thinking…
Why are we obsessed with adventure?
What is it about these stories that draws us in and captivates our attention?
Are we really so starved for excitement? Doesn’t life have enough drama of its own?
I couldn’t help but think that we crave more than just adventure and drama. If I get a call that one of my kids is on the way to the hospital, I’m not nearly as excited as when I’m on the way to see the next installment of Star Trek. But I’m sure there will be drama and excitement at both destinations.
What is it about Star Trek (insert your own adventure choice here) that fills me with excitement while the hospital fills me with fear?
Doesn’t it have to be predictability? Star Trek is pretty predictable. In fact, it’s predictable enough to make me comfortable. When you add these last two ingredients — predictability and comfort — it’s clear why we long for this kind of adventure. The hero wins…the bad guy goes down…and everyone lives happily ever after! Oh, and don’t forget…it’s easy to see yourself as the hero in these kinds of adventures.
But take away the predictability and comfort goes right out the window with it! Then adventures become nightmares and drama is filled with anxiety.
That’s one of the reasons life is full of heartache. Life’s unpredictable, and since it’s unpredictable, it’s never going to be comfortable. You might think, for the Christian, this shouldn’t be true. The problem is, in order to get to the end of our story we have to live through the process of sanctification — an unpredictable, uncomfortable transformation, where more and more of who we thought we were is replaced with someone we never thought we could become. And much of the work must be accomplished through means we never even imagined in our scariest dreams.
I use the word scary because these means are messy. They’re outside our control, making us uncomfortable. They’re not like any novel or movie. They don’t come to a predictable resolution in two hours or less and you can’t turn to the last chapter for a glimpse at exactly what you will look like in the end.
But does that mean there’s no security at all?
Working through the ideas of adventure, comfort, drama, and predictability each begins to yield their centrality to the overarching principal of security. We want to be safe. That’s the ultimate common denominator, right? Whether in a movie or in a novel, we want the hero to win…the bad guy to go down…and everyone to live happily ever after! There’s only one way that’s going to happen. You have to have the right author. Because, some authors don’t always let the good guy win.
So, who’s the author of your story? And is He safe?
While you’re in the middle of being transformed by sanctification, it won’t always seem safe. But God has not only promised that the hero wins…the bad guy goes down…and His people live happily ever after… God has provided us Jesus, the hero of our story. He has already won. He has already taken the bad guy down. And one day we won’t just “walk into the sunset.” We will walk into the blinding light of the unveiled glory of God Himself. Jesus is better than any action hero.
Oh, and when we get there, what an adventure that will be!