Why I love heroes

I don’t have as much an affinity for fantasy heroes as real life heroes. Real people. Real problems. Real faith. Heroes of faith are vital to my own faith. They remind me of Hebrews:

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. (Heb. 12:1-2)

There are faithful men and women of God who have gone before. They have finished their race and are cheering each of us on. They fixed their eyes on Jesus and reached their prize. They call on us to do the same.

One faithful hero I never met influenced me through his daughter. She was a “Mother in Zion” to me. She was like having a spiritual grandmother around for years. I met her dad through her stories. Her dad was a pastor in the early days of the Assemblies of God. Many of his years were spent in small western Kansas towns faithfully pastoring. He pastored the church I grew up in near Kansas City as well.

The story was told of Brother Shelton believing God for his provision. Offerings in small churches were… well… small. There often wasn’t enough to pay all the bills and the pastor. Brother Shelton was an incredible man of faith and there were times he would open up his empty wallet and shout, “HALLELUJAH!” into it. He would then close it up and put it back in his pocket. God would provide. The present circumstance didn’t bother him.

I heard another story about Brother Shelton and his faith concerning another minister who would become a district leader in Kansas. When the district leader was a baby and his family lived on a farm in western Kansas, Brother Shelton was the pastor of their church. The baby contracted a fever and there wasn’t a close hospital. The parents called Brother Shelton, who came over and began praying for that baby. He scooped the baby up in his arms and took him outside. All night long Brother Shelton paced that farm yard. From the house to the barn and back. Back and forth, calling out on God, rebuking the fever, claiming healing for the baby boy. By morning the fever broke and the baby was healed.

Those are the heroes I love. They don’t make the news. They don’t get reality shows. Hardly anyone knows them. I am so grateful I got to hear the stories. They are stories of faithfulness. Stories we would do well to pay attention to in our own lives. Brother Shelton is in that great cloud of witnesses cheering me on. Calling on me to not give up. Calling on me to press on!

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