Thursday, December 30, 2010

Salvation: The Guardian

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield..." (Ps. 84:11)

  After letting the impact of the last post settle in over the last two days, I have been contemplating a rather difficult and unsettling conclusion:

   The more I walk with God, the more I realise how little I really know or understand about Him.

   Why is this such a big issue? It follows from my foolishness in looking to impotent superheroes who never got off their comic book pages or animated series to come to my rescue when I needed them. I believe there is much to be said about my misplaced admiration of the celluloid and paper heroes concocted by man's imagination than the love, potency, and protective ability of the One to whom all power belongs. I've been infuriatingly slow to see the truth that's been staring me in the face all along:

   "El", The Powerful God, is the only One capable of being 
The Guardian that I have been searching for.

   I wonder why it has taken me so long to see all this - the greatness of God and the impotency of all that my mind and heart has sought for protection. Emulating the armour of my most admired superhero did nothing to protect me, as hard as I tried. Superman did not swoop down to be the "Man of Steel, Man of Speed, Man of Strength", rescue me from danger and deflect the proverbial "sticks and stones". Optimus Prime from Transformers, for all his size, powerful voice and grand words of leadership had nothing to show or say when he was needed. Wolverine slashed his way through countless enemies both in the comics and on screen; there was not a single claw mark to be seen in defense of the innocent in real life. Michael Knight sallied forth with K.I.T.T  in Knight Rider as "a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless in a world of criminals that operate above the norm". Neither was to be seen anywhere. I could write reams upon reams about the concoctions of the mind and heart of man both in creating and looking to heroes that are evanescent shadows at best, ultimately failing to meet the expectations of those who hold on to them.

   How immeasurably different from any man is the heart of the warrior God of the Bible who stands and fights on my behalf!

   Cain, son of the very first family, has no inclination to love and protect his brother Abel; he murders him instead. When asked by God where his brother is, he answers with the words "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9, ESV). How different is the promise of the Lord of hosts of whom it is written in Psalm 121: "The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand...The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life"! History testifies time and again that fallen man, with all his grandiose promises of stopping oppression, lifting the downtrodden, executing justice and bringing peace has proven himself unable to be the hero that follows through. It is thrilling to realize that no human leader of any kind will ever claim, or be able to wield, the kind of power attributed to God in the words of Psalm 91 or anywhere else in the Bible. And He demonstrated His desire to love and protect in the ultimate exercise of power through the Person of Jesus.

   "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age," said Jesus in Matthew 28:20. The writer of Hebrews echoed this fact with the promise of God in the Old Testament: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5, ESV). I am only now beginning to comprehend the magnitude of God's protective nature in the Person of Christ. Any superhero conjured into existence by imaginative writers and artists looks pathetically silly in contrast to John's description of His vision of the risen Jesus in Revelation 1:12-16. Any heroic words that writers put into the mouths of heroes and superheroes of comics and books pales in comparison to the assertion of Christ: "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades" (Revelation 1:17, ESV) Though I gave my life to Christ in serious commitment 15 years ago, it saddens me to contemplate that it has taken me so long to internalize this deep truth of His person:

  Christ is the Guardian who protects my heart and mind, not through emotional barriers, but through the active, living, invincible armour of His Holy Spirit within me who wraps Himself around me tighter than any man-made armour ever could.

   Even as I write this post, my mind is struggling to digest the implications of all that has hit me. I'm going to stop here and go and process all of this for a bit. See you in the next post!

- The Wisdom Seeker