Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (CSB)
Like millions of moviegoers, I love superhero stories. In particular, I’ve enjoyed watching (repeatedly) Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. Certainly, it’s fun to cheer for these women as they take on villains and emerge victorious, especially when we’re used to seeing mostly men in such heroic roles. But what moves me most is the moment when each of these superheroes steps into her power and realizes her role in the supernatural war being fought.
In Wonder Woman, we see Diana climb out of the trenches, intent on helping those in need, and then walk through a storm of bullets to allow her team to advance safely behind her. As she plants her feet and holds up her shield for cover, the music swells and she doesn’t say a word. We don’t know what’s going through her mind as bullets rain down on her and she’s attacked by what feels like an endless amount of ammunition. We hear the music and watch her take hit after hit, and we see her standing strong the whole time.
In Captain Marvel, when Carol Danvers faces down her biggest opponent, it happens within her subconscious. For much of this internal battle, we see her sitting on the floor, restrained and unmoving. Those observing her from the outside have no idea of the war raging in her mind as the enemy tries to thwart her efforts to save entire worlds.
In both stories, these supernaturally strong women are fighting battles that we cannot fully comprehend. In both stories, they are only able to defeat their enemies after ignoring their team’s advice to stand down or their enemy’s taunting to give up. They are victorious only by unleashing the inner strength and power they had been given.
Now, you and I are not superheroes. Obviously I know that, no matter how many times I’ve watched those movies. However, I do think we have a lot in common with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel.
How many times have you fought a battle that nobody else could see? How many times have you been under siege and on the verge of collapsing while standing strong on the outside? How many times have you looked at the challenge in front of you and been told, “You can’t do it”? How many times have you taken stock of your situation and told yourself that?
“I can’t do this.”
How often have I whispered, shouted, cried those words? I’ve lost count. I’m sure God knows, though, how many times I’ve realized that I cannot bear the burdens of the world or even just those that affect me personally. I trust that God knows every single time I’m fighting a war, even if nobody else notices.
So many of us are fighting battles that nobody else knows about. Addiction. Abuse. Chronic pain. Crippling debt. Anxiety. Struggles with our kids, our marriages, our friendships, our careers, our churches. We go to war alone, exhausted, and relying solely on our own strength.
No wonder we feel like giving up and shouting, “I can’t do this!”
The good news is that while we are never going to become superheroes, we are given supernatural strength by God. He never asks us to be strong enough to fight every battle — or any battle! Instead, He promises to be with us, to help us and protect us, and to give us the strength we need.
No matter what challenge you’re facing today, you aren’t facing it alone. And you don’t have to do it on your own. Ask God to give you strength, and do not be afraid, for He is your God.
Heavenly Father, I’m not a superhero, and I need Your help. This thing I’m facing is too much, and I can’t handle it on my own. I can’t do this. Please give me strength to face the struggle, to fight what I need to fight, and to rely on You through it all. In Jesus’s name, amen.
- What battle are you fighting that might be invisible to most people?
- How are you asking God to stand with you and give you strength?