In my earliest of memories I see myself kneeling at the foot of a child’s bed, screaming for dear life. I am in the bedroom of a friend and he is draped in a cape (in reality, a towel he’d somehow managed adhere over his shoulders), his fists are anchored to his hips, and he is proclaiming that I should not fear… he will “save me.” Nearby his brother is giving our little world of make-believe a narration. “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…”

 

Well, you get the picture.

 

My childhood was partially filled with superheroes - from the colorful pages of comic books to the small screen in our family room and the wide screen at the local theater. We Americans, it seems, have been fascinated by the notion that there is something otherworldly that can take an ordinary man or woman and turn them into a more powerful being.

 

We, as Christians, are equally as fascinated, but we don’t need Marvel® Comics to either entertain or fascinate us. We have holy heroes found within the very Word of God.

 

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility[1]
I have, for the purpose of this article, spent hours learning about Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man®. Other than a general past knowledge and the current movie I’d watched while flying cross-country, I really knew very little. That which I have now learned has left me quite captivated!

 

Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee (writer) and Steve Ditko (artist). He had his first appearance in mid-1962. The most unique thing about Spider-Man was not that he could produce and throw both organic and synthetic webs but that his story begins when he is just a teenager.

 

Spider-Man comics began with Peter Parker experiencing the typical problems of young men in high school: girls, work, money, popularity (or, in his case, unpopularity), etc. But as Spider-Man, he'd come to fight extraordinary villains such as Carnage, Vulture, The Lizard, Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus. Not your common day in shop class, for sure.

 

Peter was raised by an extended family. While attending a science exhibition he had the “misfortune” of being bitten by a radioactive spider which gave him superhero abilities such as wall-crawling, strength and agility, and extra-sensory “spider-sense.” Unbeknownst to him, on the night he changes from an average boy to Spider-Man for the first time; his metamorphosis is witnessed by Mary Jane Watson, the visiting niece of the lady next door. She will eventually become his wife amidst a storyline that today’s soap opera writers would kill for.

 

As I have studied the life of Peter Parker, I have been enthralled by the storyline his creators wove for him (pun intended). Interspersed with fighting evil, Peter lives out a life of love and loss, including the “death” of his and Mary Jane’s baby. Avid readers experience his life's journey from timid teen to college kid to married professional who has superpowers and the wit and wisdom necessary to save the world.

 

Another Teen, Another Story
The year was 1898 B.C.  Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, was spending his days “tending the flocks with his brothers”[2] and his nights being entertained by dreams of those very same brothers, his father and mother, bowing down to him. Joseph’s father loved him more than any of his other sons[3] and Joseph used this fact to his best advantage. No one, not even the spoiler Jacob, was pleased, and his brothers — born to Jacob by four women — least of all. One day, as his story unfolded, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers who then reported him dead to Jacob. He eventually landed in Egypt where he was bought by an important man named Potiphar.

 

From Cocky Teen to World Savior
Though Joseph was a slave, Potiphar was so impressed by his character and abilities (apparently, at some point, Joseph learned Egyptian[4]) that he placed Joseph — still a very young man — in charge of his household. Joseph continued to grow into manhood, and Potiphar’s house continued to be blessed because of Joseph being there[5]. There was, however, one ant at the picnic. Potiphar’s wife found Joseph quite fetching and, when her advances were rejected, she finagled Joseph back into prison.

 

While there Joseph met the Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer, who’d been sent there for some grievance with Pharaoh. One night the two men had dreams and Joseph — calling on an old gift — was able to interpret them (this was a big deal in the Egyptian culture). Then Joseph asked them to please remember him when they were released because he had “done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”[6]

 

But for the next two years Joseph — who God continued to mature — was forgotten until the night Pharaoh had a series of dreams. His cupbearer then remembered Joseph. Joseph, who was able to interpret the dreams, was taken out of prison and elevated to governor of Egypt. He married and became a father. But more importantly, his wisdom and “misfortune” led to the salvation of his people… and you and me.

 

Creator & Artist, God
Like Peter Parker, Joseph was raised by an extended family and — like Parker — his story was carefully written and watched over by his Creator. As Spider-Man, Parker was destined to save the world from evil designs. As Governor, Joseph was destined to save the world from the famine he predicted after hearing Pharaoh’s dreams[7].

 

In time, his brothers came to him and, bowing low, they asked for provision. And, in time, Joseph — convinced of their character changes — revealed himself to them. Because of the “layout” of the “plotline,” God was able to save not only His people, but the line of Messiah was preserved. With that, our spiritual salvation was insured.

 

What’s Your Story?
Do you know that God has carefully scripted the layout of your life? I know the plans I have for you, He wrote through the prophet Jeremiah[8].No matter your age, God has planned your life from before you were born.[9] As in the lives of Peter and Joseph, God will use time to mature His children and bring us to a place where we can be "superheroes" too. The most seemingly inconsequential thing — a spider’s bite or a dream — can alter our lives… when we trust the Writer of our story.


Award-winning national speaker Eva Marie Everson is a graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary. Her most sought after conference topic is “Arise, My Soul, Arise” in which she explores the songs of the Bible. She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at www.evamarieeverson.com.



[1] Said to Peter Parker by his uncle, Ben

[2] Genesis 37:1

[3] Genesis 37:3

[4] Genesis 42:23

[5] Genesis 39:2ff

[6] Genesis 40:15

[7] Genesis 41: 41ff

[8] Jeremiah 29:11

[9] Psalms 139