“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
That’s the opening line from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. It’s considered by some to be among the best first lines from a novel. It brought me up short. “That’s the problem with humanity,” I said to myself.
We all want to be the hero of our own life (and everybody else’s too if we’re to be honest). In truth, however, we are not. There are so many different directions this could go. My mind briefly skittered down so many different alleys but ultimately came back to this: We are dead. The human condition is neither one of good people needing to realize their potential, nor bad people needing to be good. It is one of dead people needing to be brought to life.
I spent a couple years working as an EMT. During that time I never saw a dead person bring themselves back to life. On a couple occasions I saw someone who was technically dead brought back through CPR or the use of a defibrillator. The dead person was completely helpless. They needed a hero.
I am who I am, have what I have, and can do what I can do because someone else brought me to life. I am not, and could never be, my own hero. That title belongs to someone else.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.