6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” -2 Timothy 4:6-8
Heroes. We all need them. We all want them. Yet they are few and far between.
Through the years I’ve had many heroes. My first hero I can think of is my dad. I wanted to work at AirCal just like him. I wanted to wear a neck tie, just like him. Because he was my dad. Then my parents got divorced when I was 5, which of course shattered my otherwise unbreakable perception of my father.
So I moved on to another hero I remember wanting to be like: Superman. Why? He could fly. Nuff said. As I grew older, I realized, a part from Biblical proportion type miracles, flying wasn’t possible for me…yet 🙂 . So I settled on looking up to athletes, like Orel Hershiser (the 1988 World Series MVP) & Brett Butler (Centerfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 90’s). Then I woke up to the reality that Major League baseball was most likely not in the future for my life.
When reality sets in and we realize heroes are no longer as awesome, as wonderful, or as realistic as we had first perceived, what do we do? If we don’t succumb to the oft masked as “realism”, negativity of cynicism, we continue to blindly follow the heroes that we want to believe will one day, somehow save us. Like the Smallville theme song passionately declares, we want somebody to come and save us from the hard realities of this life. From the ages of 6-10 years old, I can remember fantasizing that my dad would miraculously swoop in and save my sisters and I from the chaos at home caused by my mom & step-dad’s errant decisions, lack of personal discipline, and refusal to sacrifice selfish desires.
My dad never did swoop in. He talked about us moving in with him one time. But that was it. No heroic saving moments. No super-human powers to end the chaos that was the norm of home for us. And yet, I never lost hope for the heroic. I think Grandma Whitford was the reason for that. She kept the seed of the Heroic alive in my heart through the person of Jesus Christ.
Needless to say, I did NOT become a cynic against the heroic. Rather I saw the reality of the heroic played out in the Awesome personality of the Trinity. I saw/see the heroic best lived out in those who truly chose/choose to follow God faithfully.
The Apostle Paul would perhaps never claim himself as this, but he was nothing short of heroic. He submitted himself to Christ in such a way that he was used by God to almost single handedly deliver the good news of salvation to the gentiles/pagan world. We all have the opportunity and power to defy selfishness, wickedness and depraved lifestyles because he chose to give up his comforts to tell people, whom he did not know, about Jesus.
When I think of modern-day Christ followers who are “heroic” in their character, I can pin point only a few. Because truly, how many of us are given the opportunity to be as selfless as Paul was, and actually take God up on the offer? For others of us, God sovereignly chooses our days and numbers them, just as David speaks of in Psalm 39:4. For my former student, and an absolute lover of Jesus, Jaimee Baker-Renfrow, this was true.
Jaimee was born with Cystic-Fibrosis, a genetic disease of the lungs. Her parents Tim and Pam were told she would not live long, and yet, defying the odds, as was Jaimee’s standard operating procedure, she lived to be 23 years and 50 weeks old. She got married to Rony Renfrow, and served the Lord as a Worship Leader and as a Pastor’s wife for 3 years. Jaimee was NO ordinary person. She was heroic. And to be honest, she stands as one of my heroes, and always will.
I could keep writing on the heroic. The topic is dynamic and as the 2012 Summer Theatrical blockbusters that will soon release testify, people NEED, WANT, and are hoping for a hero to come and “save” them from past hurts, lost joys, present pain, and “hopeless” realities.
In closing, I’ll simply point to the ultimate Hero: Jesus. And I’ll let His heroic servant, Jaimee Baker-Renfrow testify to His ability to save. Here are Jaimee’s final words, before she went into a life-ending coma. She wrote the following statement and “song” in her final Facebook post:
“Some people can just say things better than others. I wanted to post a prayer in agreement with all the wonderful people across the country that are thinkning of me on this special day. I realized that the things I wanted to express to the Lord today have aleady been beautifully articulated by talented and spirit-filled song-writing brothers and sisters…” (read the caption below)…