Superheroes have never been more popular. Comic book sales are the highest they’ve been in decades; superhero movies make millions of dollars, and superhero television shows have millions of viewers. People love to imagine a character with extraordinary abilities who is not constrained by gravity or fire or limited strength like the rest of us mortals.
We might be tempted to think of the people listed in Hebrews 11 as superheroes of faith. But a closer look at their stories in other parts of Scripture reveals that they struggled with fear, doubt, and susceptibility to shame just as we do. They were human beings just like us, and they looked ahead to a reward so valuable that they persevered in focusing on and trusting God.
These individuals are included in this passage as examples of faith not because of their personal accomplishments but due to their belief in what God would accomplish for them. They fixed their eyes on that prize and ran for it, even as the world unleashed its abuse, degradation, mockery, and rejection. Their very refusal to succumb to shame put their enemies to shame. In God’s opinion, the world wasn’t worthy of them.
Why didn’t they give up? Because they were not looking to the world for approval. As long as God was pleased with them, they could withstand anything. They listened for His voice and sought His face, doing whatever it took to be faithful to His calling. In return they received His priceless affirmation. God was proud to be called their God.
We share their weaknesses, and we also share their God. We can focus on our Savior Jesus and stay faithful to God with the help of the Holy Spirit.