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Why We Long for Superheroes

So much of life looks like defeat – we long for something different. Here’s why:

Let it be known that at age 35 I still collect comic books. I heart comic book movies (even the Green Lantern). I long for comic book conversations with my seven-year-old son. I even love comic book character gummies! If it’s about comic books, it’s for me.

I love all comic books – but my real allegiance is to Batman and Super (the big boys). Let it be known that I have every Batman comic book since Frank Miller’s relaunch with the story arc Year One in 1987, and every Superman comic book since its relaunch in 1996. What this reveals is that inside this muscular physique is a 12 year old boy longing to get out and play.

But, there is something deeper going on, as well. Superheroes win. (Not always – see Death of Superman – but almost.) We long for victory. So much of life looks like defeat – we long for something different. Here’s why:

1. We live in a world that values gifting more than character – that seems unfair.

We spend our whole lives trying to fit in, trying to develop a sense of belonging, wanting people to love us for us. Yet, when we look around it seems as if promotions, friendships, and favoritism rule the world. In the world’s economy what matters most is your gifting – your skills, connections, and ability to manipulate – but we all know the system is unfair. We fight for equity, justice, and high standards, but in the end it seems rigged. As we try to fit in and keep faithful to that which God has called us, we see others being promoted all around us and we don’t understand.

2. We long for victory over our own personal struggles.

We all struggle. Whether it be with financial difficulties, addiction, fractured relationships, or strained family systems we all have a story of struggle that begs for relief. For this reason the church is vital to the follower of Jesus. The church SHOULD BE a safe place to come and share your burdens – but rarely is that realized. Your family is a mess, built on a shifting foundation – but this family, the family of God, is built on a cornerstone that doesn’t fail. Here’s what I know – if you mentally banish the dragons (pretend like you don’t have struggles) you banish the need for a hero.

3. In our world, justice doesn’t always prevail.

If you read the news, you will become convinced. A school full of young girls sold into sex slavery for 12 dollars a piece. A drive-by shooting in Southern California that killed 7. A Jewish museum in Belgians is attached and several die. Residents flee as fires chew up the hillside that used to be their homes. Wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There are famines and earthquakes in various places. It appears that evil too often wins. And we long for victory.

Yet, the Bible is clear – we live with the promise that our longing for victory will be satisfied. Jesus wins. The Bible is a series of foreshadowing and fulfilled stories of a King that would give us the victory for which we have always longed. We long for a victory that will ultimately be fulfilled in eternity – an eternity you were made for. C.S. Lewis said,
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Those desires for victory will be satisfied.

Jesus has secured that victory. Consider this, “and of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered.’” We no longer need foreshadows and fairytales or tales of Superman to answer our deepest longings – our King has bought, secured, and assured the victory you have longed for. The kingdom economy will reign and justice will prevail.

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Chris Lawson

Founder of, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

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