An Indestructible Shield


Protection Is Not Invincibility But Presence

by Eric Elkin

Those who love me, I will deliver;
    I will protect those who know my name.
— Psalm 91:14

Marvel Comics destroyed Captain America for me. He was one of my favorite comic book superheroes. A defender of the weak and a man of principle, he sacrificed for the greater good to protect those who could not defend themselves. With his indestructible shield, he could stop bullets, flames, ice blasts, and laser beams.

Then I took a hiatus from comic books to raise children. When I returned, his storyline had changed. Captain America, it was revealed, actually an agent of Hydra all along. If you’re not into comic books, it is like finding out General Patton was actually fighting for the Nazis. Or, that Walt Disney was actually working for the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Personally, I like to blame the modern comic book reader. They cannot stand the simplicity of good and evil. They want to pull every black and white issue down into the grey and muse on the confusion they’ve created. Back in my day, when I walked 15 miles to school every day, uphill both ways in the snow, Captain America was good, period.

Achilles, without his heel, you wouldn’t even know his name today.
— Stan Lee

As a 98 lb weakling, I liked the skinny Steve Rogers, the man who would become Captain America. I would dream of being given special power and an indestructible shield. If I were like Captain America, I wouldn’t have to hide from evil or danger. My power would be my shield.

My reality was much more like Haley Joel Osment’s character, Cole, in the movie, The Sixth Sense. Cole built a blanket fort as a form of protection. He thought it would keep the dead people away. For a brief moment in time, it seemed to work. But, in the end, blanket forts offer little protection both in the movies and in real life.

When I read about God being a source of protection for those who love God, too often, I think of it in Captain America terms. God will use strength and a shield to stop bullets, flames, ice blasts, and laser beams from destroying me. That is not protection, but a desire to be invincible. Sometimes the protection we need is against an enemy that does not do hand-to-hand combat.

We are not invincible, nor was Captain America. The protection we need is more presence than a power to deflect or a strong arm to strike. We need a refuge, a shelter, a place to rest where someone will listen to our deepest pains. The ones which dwell deep within our souls that we keep hidden from the public view. When God dwells in that place with us, words are spoken so we can hear, “I will deliver.” In those words are life and salvation.


Click to read Psalm 91: 1-2;9-16

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your place of intimate protection and safety?

  • What difficulty are you seeking shelter from this day?

  • If God speaks through humans, who is your voice of God?

  • Where do you find beauty, joy, and peace in creation?

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