Monday, June 29, 2015

The Issue that Changed Everything

I love comic books.

I always have and I guess the appeal for me began when I was a kid, because as a kid it is very easy to feel like an outsider and the comic books were all about outsiders who were truly special once you got to know them.

Haven't we all felt that way at one point in our lives?

I do not hide the fact that I am a purist Superman fan but my introduction to superhero comic books was ushered in through "The Amazing Spider man".

I was able to identify a lot with Peter Parker and so it was no surprise that these were the stories that I gravitated to as a kid. I think the image of Mary Jane standing in the doorway of Aunt May's house saying, "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." was permanently embedded in my  ten year old mind and the bar was officially raised.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to swing through the canyons of sky scrapers in New York City or swoop in and save the fabulous Mary Jane or the stunning Gwen Stacey from certain doom only to be rewarded with a kiss? It was magic and I think that reading these stories as a boy is what helped me develop an ability to write and convey thoughts the way that I do. Mental pictures created by written captions.

I recently introduced my nine year old son to the collected works of Spider man and began to pass along the comic books (In correct issue order) that I had, and have enjoyed watching him experience what I did at his age.

Dinner time conversations have become full of theory, speculation, and friendly debates on the plots and story lines that I remember (And forgot) and it is really fun for me to see him enjoy it.

I found the separate issues had been reprinted in combined book form so reading entire story lines is now possible. Each book contains twenty issues in chronological order and my son is just starting book five so you can do the math on how many issues he has read thus far.

I say that to say this.

I know what is coming in the next few "issues", and I also know what it felt like and how devastated that I felt when I experienced what he will be experiencing soon for the very first time.

 You see there are a few comic book issues that have a significant impact on the character and this upcoming issue is one of those impacting moments. In Issue # 121 Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacey is killed in the middle of a battle between Spider man and the Green Goblin.

I remember how I felt when I read this story as a boy, and went back and re-read each panel to be sure that I was reading the story correctly.

Gwen was dead? Like, she was really gone and she was not coming back. Ever.

Peter's true soul mate was gone forever? Just like that?

It was true, and I was extremely saddened by this. It's just a comic book story after all but this story came back to me as my son excitedly told me all about the characters that he was reading about. I remembered the battles and conflicts that he was recalling in his reading, and he went on completely clueless as to what the next few "issues" would hold. In fact, I was not anticipating how he was going to feel because of the upcoming issues, but I know that it is part of the story of Spider man, and Peter Parker would not be Spider man without these events that the writer would give him to shape his story.

Have you ever found yourself reading the storyline that THE WRITER has put on your page and thought to yourself, "This is good just like it is". You excitedly devour where you are in life and enjoy every moment to it's fullest and the last thing you would ever expect would be for THE WRITER to put in a character changing plot curve?

The last thing you would ask as the main character in your story would be for a plot change that would alter your way of living out your story.

Let me share a few thoughts with you about THE WRITER (God) and the story line that He has cast us in.

In the New testament, We find that Jesus walked with the disciples and they had become very comfortable with Him. Just when things were going great and "issue" after "Issue" revealed some new and exciting revelation about the heart of God for them  and us, the storyline took a drastic turn. Jesus was killed by crucifixion. Jesus knew this "issue" was coming up in the story and when the disciples came to this story they fell apart. Jesus returned and then told them of another upcoming story change. He was ascending to heaven but this storyline change in their lives would be the BEST thing that could have ever happened. It would be a change in the story of the creation / creator relationship that would make it AMAZING! God the Son was ascending and God the Holy Spirit was descending. He was entering the life of every believer! Can I show you the "Issue 121" of the New Testament?
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."   ~ John 16:7

What made this panel to the left so Iconic was the first part of this scene where the webbing wraps Gwen's leg with a resounding "SWIK!". What most people missed was that just to the right of her neck the artist also included a "SNAP!". As the page continued the reader would jump back to this panel and their heart fell. This little sound changed everything.

John 16:7 was the sound that changes everything for the believer. We need to go back and read this again and again and every time we do, our hearts LIFT!

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."   ~ John 16:7

In the Bible times, only the high priest could enter into the Holy place for the people. Their sins were atoned for through sacrifices representing what was to come in Christ, but they were still not in a position to access God's presence. Christ's death on the cross eradicated man's sin nature. Paul says it has been crucified with Christ!!! The Old Covenant was finished and the New Covenant was introduced through the cross. This covenant with man was based entirely upon Christ and His finished work.

"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. " ~ Hebrews 10:16-18
The Holy Spirit came when Jesus ascended and He reminds the believers of this truth!!!

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." ~ Hebrews 10:19-25


This story we live out is going to have plot twists and turns. Some we may enjoy and others we may never want to revisit ever again, but what we need to remember are two amazing truths.


It is not about us.

Every event allowed into our story has been perfectly designed to help us demonstrate and reveal God's Spirit to others. We were created to express the creator and it is not about the pieces being chipped away from the sculpture that matter, it is about what the sculpture reveals when the pieces are chipped away.

Loss, hurt, and pain are a part of the process and truly no condition is permanent. If life has you feeling like you just saved the city and you are swinging high then soak in the sun as you swing above the sky scrapers. If life has you feeling as though you will never be a hero again than please stop and take notice of what we forget happened back in the panel of our story in JOHN 16:7. We have Him in us and the story with all its twists and turns has always been about Him. We are just along for the ride!

He is going to work and His work is not always about what is fair. His work has always been about purpose. He shapes us and molds us in every panel of life and regardless if you agree about the way He has drawn your situation, please know that He is working through you and the story you live out. We can fight it, shut down, stop reading if we want. many people do or they find ways to try to work around what He has drawn into their lives. They try to cover up the panels with drugs, sex, stimulants, or even depressants. Anything than to have to accept the scenes that forever change them as a character. It has never been about you. If we are not the main character in our story than who is?

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

The main character in our story is... (Drum roll)... GOD!


You are not alone in your story. On the days that you win and on the days that you learn, you are not alone.

He is working in you and through you and conforming you to the image of Christ! He has written your story to show Him and to reveal His love.

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
                                             ~ Philippians 1:6

We can hold these truths tightly because there will be panels that bring change and in a lot of cases it will be changes that we feel diminish our characters costume or shows of strength and guess what. They were. It is not about us, it is about THE WRITER and His ability. If there were no writer, there would be no character so we walk by Faith. We place our faith in the fact that God is who He says He is, and the God has done and will do what He says HE has done and will do.

Climbing with you,

No comments:

Post a Comment