Rescue

Batman asks Superman to come to Gotham City and talk to a girl in the hospital. Her foster parents were killed and her foster sister has been taken. To where? Up in the sky. This girl who has bounced around the foster system—Alice is her name—has been taken across the galaxy for some unknown reason. There does not seem to be anything special about her. She is an ordinary child mysteriously swept up into extraordinary circumstances. She’s lost.

Superman agonizes over what to do. He maybe could find her out in the vastness of space. Not only can he do the whole flying/super-speed/invulnerability/survive the coldness of space thing, but he’s a Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter in his day job. But it would mean leaving behind the planet he has sworn to protect. There are 7.5 billion people counting on him in a comic book universe where mass destruction, supervillain-fueled disaster, and alien invasions take place roughly every Tuesday. And she is just one child.

Yet he leaves the 7.5 billion behind to search for that one lost child; a needle in a galactic haystack. He is pushed to his limits physically, mentally, and spiritually and yet he continues to push forward too. Through time and space, he fights through it all—even himself—until he finds this lost girl.

I read Up in the Sky thinking it would be a respite from the heavy yet important educational reading that I have been doing. It would be a nice diversion from the present world; some superhero derring-do. And it got me right in the feels. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. If you know me at all, you know I have a huge soft spot for Superman. Of course, this wasn’t just a superhero story. It was a gospel story.

Throughout my life, the parables of Luke 15—the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son—have been some of my favorite in all of scripture. There is something deeply meaningful in the actions I see in those stories. The 99 left behind for the one lost. The lovesick father sprinting down a dirt road to welcome his wayward son. As images of God, they resonate. How could they not? This is the God who loves, the God who rejoices, the God who will move heaven and earth to be with us.

In a world that kind of seems like it’s burning to the ground, that’s a God that I need. At the end of the day, I want to believe that we’re going to be saved.

Let me unpack that a little because there is a dangerous strain of theology that suggests that we don’t need to do anything about what’s going on because God is going to rescue us. It’s the idea that you just wait around for heaven as if the afterlife is the point of faith. That’s not what I’m saying. We need to take care of our neighbors by wearing masks. We need to reimagine our institutions to combat systemic racial injustice. Scripture implores us to use the time and energy that we have to do justice and love our neighbor. We are not simply waiting to be rescued.

But I want to know that God is working in ways that I see and don’t see to rescue us. I need to know that God is fighting through all of this. That there is nothing in all of creation that will keep us from the love of God. It’s not so much a desire to believe that God is in control of all this madness, but a hope that God is fighting back against the unraveling of this world. That the Holy Spirit is pushing through the here of overcrowded ICUs, tear-gassed streets, crying mothers, indifferent masses, and leaders afraid of the responsibility they have so nakedly pursued to bring sparks of hope.

That’s what I hope for today and tomorrow and the next day.

This post originally appeared on Wilcomoore.

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