I Want Superman’s Cape

by: Keith Phemister

I was recently on a plane, looking out the window as it was taking off, thinking of the Psalmist’s words when he said this in Psalm 55:5-8, “Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

If I may be transparent, I did not want the wings of a dove. No, at that moment, I was thinking more along the lines of, well, desiring Superman’s Cape. How about that? David may have desired the wings of an eagle, but if he were alive today, I just kind of believe he may have desired Superman’s Cape as well. No, I do not want to be Superman. I just would like to have his cape and fly away sometimes.

I look forward to the day when the trump shall sound and the voice of the archangel we shall hear. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see. When I look upon his face, the one who saved me by His grace. At that time, I will be taken up, but I will go without a cape. I know many who are looking at the rapture as an escape from this world. Even the unsaved are looking in disbelief at the events of our nation and wondering when the hammer is coming down.

Yes, David would have been praying for Superman’s cape if he lived today. He was living a life of oppression and persecution from his enemies. “If I just had Superman’s cape, why, I could fly away and leave them all behind.” Have you ever been there in your prayer life, wondering out loud with your Saviour – allowing your mind to drift as you bring your petitions to the Lord. And suddenly, you get taken up in the moment and say, “Oh if I could just fly away – just be able to put on Superman’s cape – and get away from the trouble, persecution, heartache and despair.”

I know sometimes there are those who get under the circumstances and want to shake their fist at God. I get it; I suppose. But, what we should be doing is shaking our fist at the dirty Devil.

A young teen was being counseled by his pastor and asked the sobering question, “What would you do if the Devil knocks on your door to tried and lead you astray?” He showed a great deal of spiritual maturity by responding, “I’ll ask Jesus to answer the door.”

Alas, there I was staring out the window on my way to a place far, far, away from my place of service and wanting for just a little while to be able to fasten the cape of Superman to my body. Allow me to relate from a Pastor’s perspective why the cape seems at times a fantasy worth believing.

  1. David said in Psalm 55:8 “I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” I believe sometimes the people of God think their pastor is Superman, that he can always rise above the discouragement and trouble in the church, as well as his own sickness and family problems. I have found that the greater the burden one carries, the easier it is to get discouraged. Pastors carry great burdens. They care for their flock. They hurt when their people hurt and weep over the sins that seem so prevalent in their lives. The good pastor spends much time in prayer and study over the message that God has placed on his heart to be a help to the family of God. Many times the sense of failure sets in, becoming permanently lodged in the heart of the man of God. Yet, it seems the dear people of God sometimes think their pastor is Superman! There is not anything that comes his way that he cannot handle with super power. Someone once said, “Why would you want to spend your life seeking to help people who will not change, and then hate you for trying to help them change.” I can only answer that question by mouthing one word and what a word it is. It is the Word – Jesus! He is the reason I do what I do. Many pastors can relate with David here, and how many people think their pastor has Superman’s cape attached to their being!
  2. David said in Psalm 55:3, “Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.” Most of God’s people are God-fearing people who love their pastor. Please, don’t get me wrong; however, when God’s man speaks the truth to a cold-hearted brother, things can often get hot. Paul said, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Yes sir, preachers are men of God when they preach the truth. I don’t know how many times someone has come up to me and asked me, “Preacher, who told you – How’d you know,” like I prepared a message just for them. The truth of the matter is, when I preach the Bible, I know the arrows I hurl from God’s Word will always hit their target; all the time and every time. I cannot miss; but preach the truth I must.

When Superman put on his cape, bullets would bounce right off him; nothing hurt him, he was invincible. However, pastors are not Superman, and they do not wear a cape. Charlie Brown said, “There is no problem so big that I cannot run away from.” But good ole’ Charlie could not run away from words hurled from a hurting heart that had been poisoned by sin.

David should have prayed for the strength of an ox to bear his burdens created by the voice of an enemy instead of wishing for the wings of a dove. Proverbs reminds us that “heaviness in the heart of a man maketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad.” For a pastor – calmness in the heart of a man maketh it glad, but a mean word maketh it heavy. That is the converse truth of the proverb. Just remember that the pastor is a human being, and words thrown his way ill-advisedly do hurt. No, he is surely not wearing Superman’s cape. Prayerfully, the words he hears from friends made enemies will not cause him to quit the ministry or the church he has been called to pastor. A pastor must be thick skinned, but many are thin skinned who put on a rather sad looking protective outer coat. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” must have had on Superman’s cape.

Lord, help me to allow the ill-advised words tossed my way to be handled with the wisdom I so desperately seek. Please remember: your pastor does not wear Superman’s cape.

  1. David said in Psalm 55:9, “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.” What they saw and what he saw were probably the same things. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that our country is in dire shape. Trouble is on every side. I see a lot of trouble ahead for this country. I do not put on Superman’s cape and have x-ray vision to see what others do not. I cannot predict the future except to say what the Bible says about the future. I am not a prophet, nor am I a fortune teller. I am a pastor who simply loves God and His people, and desires to use God’s Word to make a difference in the lives of people both in and out of the pulpit. It is amazing to me how many pastors want to elevate themselves by claiming some new revelation or truth from God’s Word that no one else has taught before. Yes, even pastors sometimes want to believe they have on Superman’s cape.

The truth of the matter is – we do not need Superman’s cape. David said in verse 6, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me.” In Psalm 55:22 he tells us to, “…cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee.”

After a time in the sky aboard a jet airplane, for just a moment finding myself identifying with David, I came back home upon another jet plane determined to put Superman’s cape fantasy permanently out of my mind. Truly, troubles are allowed by God to mature us as we walk by faith and not by sight. Then, lesson learned – discouragement can be evidence of a great burden; it was in David’s life, and it will be in our lives. Please realize your pastor does not wear Superman’s cape and never will. He will have many a burden to carry – including yours. So, let’s stop treating God’s man as if he wears the cape, and instead pray for him and do what you can to lighten his load some. Get involved dear reader, get involved in the work of God. Your pastor will thankfully put away Superman’s cape if you will.

Keith Phemister
Lighthouse Baptist Church
Hudson, NH

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