The World Needs Your Super Powers

Sunday, my husband and I decided to catch “Iron Man 3” just for fun.  Wanting to avoid the crowds, we slipped in to an early afternoon showing.  In our row and to our left, sat six bouncing kids about twelve years old.  Before the lights dimmed, two adults rushed in juggling giant popcorn buckets, jumbo-sized soft drinks, candy, and other snacks that they carefully distributed to the youngsters piece by piece.  Two chubby kids looked like their parents and were already candidates for diabetes; the other four friends were along for the ride.  The scene was one of sheer gluttony and, with tickets, probably cost the parents considerably over $100 dollars.

As we settled in for the latest installment of Tony Stark vs. the evil forces of the world (kudos to Ben Kingsley for an amazing acting job, BTW), we watched our super hero– with the aid of turbo powered space suits and weapons– face obstacle after obstacle in his courageous and bruising battles to ensure ethics, justice, family, and freedom triumph in the end.  It was all fun and games and all make believe– after all, Iron Man is a Marvel comic book.

Except it mirrors a profound truth:  the world is mired in sin and violence, evil forces are real and hellbent on destruction, people are oppressed and cruelly exploited…and the world does have a super hero named Jesus, with super, super powers, who courageously fought the forces of darkness, suffered excruciating torture, and ultimately sacrificed his sinless life to set the prisoners free– once and for all!  No sequels required.  Sorry, Hollywood.

But, only a few recognize Jesus or are even looking for him.  We’re too busy feasting and entertaining ourselves to death.

Later that evening, we watched a segment of “60  Minutes.” This was about real life.

The story focused on a young Korean man named Shin Dong-hyuk who was born and raised in a north Korean concentration camp, a gulag located in a frigid and barren landscape so remote that few in the world knew it existed and the Korean government denies is even there.  At Camp 14,  as it’s called, families are punished for up to three generations if but one member is considered disloyal to the regime. The idea is to exterminate the lineage.

Until he escaped at age 23, Camp 14 was all Shin knew.  He had no idea anything existed beyond its lethal barbed wires, except more of  the same.  He believed that he’d be born to be a prisoner and the guards had been born to enforce the laws and carry guns.

All the captives were deliberately starved and served a thin gruel of cabbage and corn only once a day.  To survive, they ate rats when they could catch them.  Life was so brutal and punitive, Shin had no concept of love, affection or kindness, only terror, torture and oppression.  He felt few emotions and never cried.

When his mother and brother tried to escape, Shin was tortured mercilessly.  He knew nothing of the plot, but the guards did not believe him. In order to stop the torture, he betrayed his mother and brother, then watched as she was hung and his brother shot. He felt no remorse.

Thanks to the arrival of another prisoner who had lived in the outside world and told Shin about a different life, Shin eventually escaped.  Today, he lives in South Korea, is an advocate for raising awareness about the concentration camps and believes he is slowly “evolving from an animal into a human being.”  He says is concept of heaven is being able to eat as much food as he wants and movies about the Holocaust now make him cry.  But, he still feels alone in the world and believes he always will.

The contrasts of our day were so powerful, I’m still reeling.  We live in such a fallen world and man without God is a hideous malfunction.

As Christians– Christ-in-me– it’s only natural that sin should repel.  But, for the grace of God, there go I.

Yet, we cannot we stop there.

Jackie Pullinger, an amazing British missionary to Hong Kong, founded the St. Stephens Society, a drug rehabilitation home, in one of the world’s largest opium producing centers run by Chinese Triad gangs.  I heard her say once that as she was walking through the filth and squallor of the Forbidden City in Hong Kong, she began to feel overwhelmed by the sin and the resources that would be needed to  redeem those wretched souls.  Suddenly, the Lord’s voice stilled her and said, “I’m not asking you to do it all, I’m just asking you to do your bit.”

Jackie went on to rehabilitate hundreds of drug addicts, prostitutes and gang members, and thanks to her work, the Forbidden City was eventually torn down. Her efforts been recognized by the Chinese government.  Jackie found her “bit” and God used her mightily.

Today, if our heart tugs at all the injustice, cruelty and brokenness in this world, may we have the courage to ask God to help us find our “bit” and then go make a lasting difference in His strength and to His glory until the day that He calls us home.




  1. I saw that 60 minute segment too. Unbelievable! Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    • And we, having been born free, have no idea what it must be like to be so crushed and persecuted. I pray God gets hold of his life, heals him from the inside out and uses him to help those still suffering.

  2. Thank you for sharing the movie experience, and the 60 minute was a rerun but great nonetheless! Here’s my summation on the whole super hero notion. He is faster than a speeding bullet, He is able to leap buildings on a single bounce, He has walked on water, He has brought the dead to life, and He promised to never leave us or forsake us until the end of time. How’s that for a real hero?

    • Exactly! Where would these ideas come from, anyway? Michael, “to whom much is given, much is required.” Let’s shout it from the rooftops!

  3. Thank you for the uplifting and encouraging “Spirit Beat”. I am getting a dose of LA today. Thank you for the uplifting thoughts.

    • So glad it lifted you! May your kite fly high!

  4. Shin’s Holocaust experience in another reason the gospel of Jesus Christ needs to find its way into the world’s hell-holes. Join me in praying for those places.

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