August 15, 2018
I'm surrounded by heroes. Not the DC Comic or Marvel versions we see in the comics or at the movie theatres. As entertaining as they may be, they don't really inspire me in meaningful ways.
I'm also not talking about those courageous people who serve the general public by potentially putting themselves in harm's way. Police, firemen, military, disaster-relief workers, or the like.
Lastly, I'm not talking about those heroes who in a single moment were called upon to act courageously. A single selfless act that saved a life or averted a crisis. We will always be grateful for them and for the service people mentioned above.
The heroes I'm talking about rarely get the recognition they deserve. We all know them. They are more commonly known as relatives, friends, acquaintances, or even our next-door neighbours. Whatever their social title, many of them live heroically, whether we recognize it or not.
What is my definition of a hero? Here it is:
A person who is carrying a significant life burden but who carries it with faith, dignity, integrity, and perpetual hope.
As a pastor I get invited into the difficult areas of many people's lives. The difficulties vary. Everything from health, financial, relational, personal, you name it. The weight of the burdens I've witnessed some people carry every day would make weaker mortals crumble.
And that is what is so inspiring to me - so touching. They live in the shadow of deep pain, hurt or life-threatening malady, yet manage each day with dignity and strength.
It's not that they never feel overwhelmed or struggle with seasons of doubt, it's that they don't allow it to define them or turn them into victims. They embrace life in all its fullness, whether it's good or bad.
Most would remind us that their situation was something imposed on them. They never asked for it or wished it upon themselves. But it's their response and resiliency that garners them the title of hero in my mind.
I'm especially blessed by those who never lose faith or trust in God. They may struggle in a season of asking 'why me,' but they soon remember that this world is not as God intended since it's a creation fractured by the brokenness of sin and death.
So, for those of you who carry a heavy burden, who bear each day with courage, faith, and hope, thank you for the inspiration you bring to others. Your lives are a picture of hope at a time when the world appears to be going mad.
I'm surrounded by heroes. I hope you are too.
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