Bat-Signal: We Need a Hero
Nov 12, 2017 05:18AM ● Published by Bonnie Lyn Smith
Trick-or-treating was a scramble at my house, mostly because I hate Halloween and put off everything to do with Halloween as long as I can. Once I am out in the community going around the neighborhood with friends, I am fine. My husband likes to call it “the friendliest day of the year in New England” because, otherwise, we New Englanders often keep to ourselves during chilly seasons. He says it brings everyone out and they’re all smiling and cheery. I think that may have more to do with the traveler mug full of cheer than anything else, but okay, we’ll go with that for now.
So in the madness of getting the adult face mask and tween Batman Dark Knight costume on, I didn’t notice all the props my 11 year old son had set up for himself. All I knew was that I needed to attach Velcro dots to parts of the costume that were at risk of malfunction. With the belt fastened, the mask over the head, and the gauntlets up to the elbows, we went off with the pillowcase to join some friends down the street. Little did I know what I would find a few days later.
I am not really sure what possessed me to pick up the flashlight left by the discarded costume in a heap on the floor and take it upstairs. Maybe I thought it had come from my room originally. Several of us have variations of attention deficit disorder, and the cast-off piles and items around the house, while clean, are an indication of the chaos (yet incredible creative sparks) inside our minds.
So as I rolled over into bed where I had set my kindle, phone, and for some reason known only to God, the flashlight, I turned it on. Imagine my surprise when I found the Bat-Signal. Yup. My son had printed out and cut a Batman symbol, taping it to the top of the flashlight. I guess it had accompanied us on our trick-or-treating. I was too busy looking at the amazing moon that night and hearing my friend gasp at the shooting stars.
And in that moment, all tucked into bed, with temperatures rapidly dropping in New England and with dark all around me, I felt ridiculously safe. Why? Because if I had to, in the middle of the night, and prowlers came around, I could send that signal up into the sky, and help would be on the way.
This may be where it breaks down a little. But you get the idea. My son, always a superhero, had fully taken on the part. He created a safe world for himself, one where one flash into the sky, and someone would come along to right the wrongs, to bring safety amidst peril, to restore what was out of order.
If you look closely at the Bat-Signal, two wings spread out with one long body, what does it look like to you (besides a bat)?
To me it looks like rescue set to flight, arms open wide, ready to take the brunt of whatever is wrong in the world.
I see a cross.
Colossians 2:13-14, ESV
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
I know a bat is not a real symbol for a cross, but let’s face it. To whom do we turn when we suddenly need a hero?
Whose name do we say when
we see a car coming toward us,
we hear about a devastating disaster or act of violence,
we get bad news of any kind?
Whom do we beckon forth?
Oh, my God!
Even atheists say it (which I find incredibly interesting, but that’s a subject for another day). Suddenly, this God we all like to ignore and not listen to gets a Bat-Signal across the sky. He is called out to. Suddenly, we try to make contact.
And do you know why? Because our souls were made to respond to Him.
Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
From our creation, He has been the real Savior, We signal Him with prayer.
A quick: “Oh, Jesus, help!”
This is possible because He has already defeated our enemy. He has taken our shame upon the cross and put it on Himself and then to death. He has risen victorious. He demonstrated His power to heal our physical bodies and our souls even before His crucifixion because He is God, but after, through the cross, He stands in front of us, his huge cape covering us, so that harm can only briefly try to visit us. He shields us and says: “S/he is covered by my blood. You can’t have him/her.”
Acts 2:22-23, ESV
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know--this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Unlike Bruce Wayne, however, for those of us who believe, He never leaves our side. He is Immanuel, God with us. There is no need for us to flash a light into the night sky to capture His attention. He is already present, waiting for us to notice, to remember, to converse.
How would our lives be different if we allowed the truth of God with us to penetrate every thought and action of each day?
Imagine if we would pray as each situation came to mind.
- The horrors of a shooting inside a San Antonio church
- Fires raging throughout California
- Tropical storms sweeping out whole towns
- Narcissistic dictators killing their own people and aiming nukes across the world
- Human trafficking recruiters slinking down every alley
- That layoff coming around the bend during the holidays
- That scan that wasn’t quite right
- The rebellious child we just can’t seem to stay one step ahead of
- The failed dreams
- The unfaithful spouse living a lie under the same roof
- The loss of a loved one
I look down at that flashlight with the silhouette of a bat on it, and I know how empowering that must feel to a young boy dressing up as a favorite superhero, one of the good guys hoping his world stays in balance, that the Bat-Signal is never needed.
But it is needed. And it’s here to stay. The Christ of the cross is with us no matter how awful the world turns today, or tomorrow, or next week.
Cry out to Him and tell Him your fears. Remember how safe you are, if you’ve trusted Him, as He stands between you and danger. You don’t face tomorrow alone.
1 Corinthians 16:23, ESV
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.