“Growing up means watching my heroes turn human in front of me.” – The Wonder Years
I’ll be 30 in a few days and this line from their song “Hoodie Weather” hits me harder every time I listen to it. There are many reasons why.
The SBC over the last ten years has seen, in Al Mohler’s words, a reckoning, and many men that I’ve looked up to have fallen in varying ways—ways that heroes aren’t ever portrayed in stories. I’ve had interactions with some of the people that I’ve admired for years that have left me bitter and upset: “They’re nothing like I imagined them to be.”
Another reason this line hits me so hard is that I’m growing ever more familiar with my inability to be a hero myself. I used to want to be; youthful ambition or whatever. But as time goes on, I realize more and more that I’m utterly insufficient to be everything someone else needs. The last ten years of my life have been spent following Jesus. And at the beginning I ran through this thing called “the Christian life,” that run slowed to a jog, a walk, and now I find myself on my hands and knees, desperate to just touch the hem of His garment. There’s so much about me that’ll prevent me from ever being the hero that 19 year old Kris wanted to be.
My heroes have turned human right in front of me, and I’ve finally realized I’m human as well. I’m not claiming to have “grown up”, but I feel like this is a vital part of it. It’s vital because as long as I look to myself or anyone else as anything more than dust, a vanishing mist that’s only here for a moment, then I attribute values to people that they can’t measure up to and my hopes will always be dashed.
But not with Jesus. My run has slowed to a crawl, but just like He did for that woman long ago, He has time and time again turned and stooped to my level every time I clutched His robe. And that’s the most ironic thing: my Lord has walked with me through all the muck I’ve dove headfirst into. He’s knelt in the dirt beside me. He’s shared in my pain, my depression, my anxiety, my failures, my limitations. He took to Himself a body like mine and lived through all the same afflictions and infirmities that I have. And long ago He even shared in my sin.
My Hero turned human right in front of me. That’s the beauty of Advent. And that’s the beauty of growing up.