Who’s your hero? All my life I’ve looked up to people I thought were doing important things. As a five-year-old, I read Sleeping Beauty, loved Princess Aurora’s happy ending. I imagined myself being rescued by handsome Prince Philip. Influenced by the TV show Get Smart, I imagined myself as an indispensable “Agent 99.” Later on, irresistible Keith Partridge of the Partridge Family and Davy Jones of the Monkees grabbed my attention; their music made me feel loved and wanted. Through idolizing these heroes, I felt temporarily liberated, given respite from a mundane life to momentary fantasy land of my own making. The problem with choosing heroes such as these is they disappointingly fail as people, fade from popularity, and the fix we need won’t be satisfied by following them. Now that I am older, my heroes have changed, but I don’t stop having them. We need models that will inspire us, real people of flesh and blood. This type of hero has real staying power—people of faith are the ones who wade through deep waters and sustained by God, come out on the other side stronger and more resilient to the next trial. Not only do these champions have character traits we admire, we are inspired to imitate them. We can admire their courage as we face our own life’s challenges, and we can be strengthened by their example.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
One such hero is my mother, Shirley Adkins. We share the same birthday—April Fools’ Day—we’ve always joked I am the one birthday gift she couldn’t return. She is my inspiration. Mom is a former full-time working mother, a labor and delivery nurse for more than thirty years, now a full-time caregiving nurse for my ailing father. Daily, Mom faithfully studies her Bible, continues to keep her mind “set on things above,” even makes time for regular exercise. In fact, at age seventy, my mother began entering local 5K races in my home town. She said, “I just did it for fun, to push myself.” After running a race at age seventy-three, she was chosen to represent the city of Davis, CA to the sister city in Inuyama, Japan. She won an all-expense paid trip to Japan and was treated as a celebrity there. Mom is a true hero in my book. Just last Saturday, ran her thirtieth 5K race at age eighty-one. She placed first in her age group. My mom is my hero. Mom is my hero because she has always chosen to put her faith in God, first.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18: 10
Hebrews 11 cites a list of heroes and heroines, great examples of the pillars of our faith. It is filled with the stories of faithful men and women. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and even the prostitute, Rahab are listed as those displayed exemplary faith. We can be amazed at the faith of these people and maybe even imagine our response to God in similar situations. God has called us to have faith just as those in Hebrews 11.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6 ESV). My mom has the kind of faith—like those listed in the “hall of faith.” It’s inspiring to see their faith woven through everything they did. In the same way, my mom continues to show her faith in our God by praising God for her opportunity to take care of my father, remain faithful in her daily duties, and even continue to run an occasional 5K. Whether or not she wins a trip to Japan or first place in her age group, by faith, she keeps on running. For you and me, everything we do in life should be directly linked to our faith in the Faithful One, just like Mom—my hero.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Her children arise to call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:25, 28, 30