Longing For A Hero
They say you should never meet your heroes, and for good reason.
The way I see it, there are three kinds of heroes people generally gravitate towards.
The first is the fantastical hero – the Superman, the Jason Bourne, the Disney Princess… – all these heroes are fictional characters from stories, comic books, movies or TV shows. It’s easy to stick to the “never meet your hero” rule with this kind of champion. There is no danger or fear of disappointment in this particular hero. However, this also makes them innately flawed in that by not actually existing, they hold no true level of goodness or strength. They only exist through writers and artists and actors. They are nothing more than shadows.
The second kind of hero is a real person, but a person you do not know – perhaps a celebrity, an athlete, a scholar, an activist, or any of the like. This kind of hero is slightly more dangerous than the static, fantastical hero, in that as real, living people they have a chance to make a costly mistake and ruin their façade. Like the fantastical hero, they do not truly exist as fully-developed, three-dimension people in our lives – there is no relationship. If they do end up making a wrong turn and disappointing us, we can always just move on to the next “hero”.
The third kind of hero is someone you know personally who has affected you so deeply that you have been moved to think of them as your “hero” in life. This may be a family member, a teacher, a coach or even a friend. This type of hero can be the most dangerous. Here the expectations are the highest. This is someone who has gone above and beyond earning your trust to win your ultimate respect. However that level of esteem comes with a high price, and it means this kind of relationship has the most to lose if disappointment takes the reins.
Although these three types of heroes are very different from each other, they all have one important commonality – they are all flawed.
None of them can ever possibly deliver on every single promise. None of them can show us the right path every single time we ask for direction. None of them can give us 100% of themselves 100% of the time. They will always end up disappointing us at one point or another, whether it be by failing to act as a real mentor, failing to offer guidance or failing to live up to our expectations.
We are always seeking and yearning for heroes. We crave screen time with them so we can watch how they defeat the proverbial “bad guy.” We love reading stories of war heroes triumphing over their enemies. We love following strong leaders we can proclaim as our “hero.” If there is no such thing as a real hero who will not disappoint us and cannot offer anything more than empty promises and broken expectations, why do we continue our endless search?
It is because our hearts are created to long for such a person, but the only way to end our fruitless pursuit is by reconciling our need with our Creator. Doesn’t it make sense that the hunger we feel stems from He who created the hunger? God longs for us to seek Him, and He has placed a roadmap within each of us to help us find Him, which is our longing for Him.
Sometimes, we get lost along the way by wrongly equating our longing for God with a longing for an earthly hero. But as soon as we recognise where this inherent need comes from and we allow ourselves to be led back to our saviour, Jesus Christ, the search for a hero stops and we can finally rest in His perfect peace.
If you find yourself in an endless search for a hero to solve your problems and lead you to fulfilment, stop looking among fellow, flawed humans for answers and look to your creator, who can provide the ultimate fulfilment. In Him we find bravery. In Him we find strength. In Him we find every single attribute we could ever hope for, and we will never be left disappointed.