Captain America: Unrelenting Shield
So first off, I formally apologize for not giving Captain America much love in the first book. After seeing “The Winter Soldier,” I shut up about Cap. The movie itself wasn’t just impressive; it made me realize how relevant, important, and flippin hardcore Steve Rodgers really is to the world. So from Hector Miray and Faith & Fandom, my bad.
Cap really spoke to me in Winter Soldier. It is great to see a hero that doesn’t just respond to conflict, but one that stands for integrity even when he isn’t in direct opposition. Even when the “good” guys are the ones in the wrong, Cap doesn’t relent from sharing his convictions. Cap is synonymous with his shield, and even though we normally associate shields with defense, watching Cap in TWS showed me that a shield isn’t to cower behind, it’s to guard you as you move forward.
Check out Psalm 7:10 “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.” God is indeed our shield, but often we only use Him as our defense. If we take the example we see from Cap, we know that we don’t sit at home cowering under our God shield. We go out into the world, into the places where we don’t feel safe or at ease. We go into the places that aren’t easy or comfortable, and as we progress forward we let God be our shield. If all we do is hide behind our shield, maybe someone else needs to wield it. Jesus even told us that we would be under fire in this world. In John 16:32-33, Jesus preps his disciples for some of the things to come by telling them “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus knew that he was going to be under fire, and alone from His earthly support, but he was pressing forward because He knew that He would always have God as his shield. Jesus warns us that in this world we will also face trouble, be discouraged, receive hate, and feel alone, but we like Jesus have that same shield. Our savior overcame the world because He had His Father as a shield and because of that he could do more than endure this world he overcame it. That’s what He expects us to do as well; move forward, and overcome.
Cap truly models this. When Shield, Fury, Hydra, or even Tony Stark stand against him, he doesn’t back down. He takes his shield and presses forward. One of the most powerful moments I’ve ever seen demonstrating this is in Amazing Spiderman #537 as Spidey is questioning what to do when the world is changing who they are around you. Spidey asks Cap what to do, and Cap drops this bomb on him: "Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world—No, you move."
Cap uses his integrity to not only move forward against opposition, but when opposition pushes back, he stands his ground. That is why God is our shield. Cap actually was referencing Psalm 1:1-3 in that speech, check it out. “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
In moving forward, we have to realize that even though we walk in the path of opposition, we don’t walk the same steps as the opposition. When you have a shield it protects you from what’s coming against you. If you are moving the same direction as what is attacking you, you’ll always be vulnerable. Being planted like a tree (shout out to Groot), reminds us that we stand strong, we stand firm, and we stand vigilantly ready for anything that may come. We are told that in living this way, we will prosper in whatever we do. In TWS it didn’t look like Cap was going to prosper. Shield turned against him. Bucky turned against him. He was being hunted by various threats. Being shot at with missiles, bullets, and even his own shield, yet in the end he prospered. Sometimes prosperity only comes after heavy opposition.
Cap faced all this, and while you may not have to ever take down heavily armed helicarriers, you will face your own struggles. God encourages in Deuteronomy 31:6,8, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The Lord Himself goes before us. He is our shield even when we aren’t strong enough on our own. He moves forward before us on our behalf. He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to let go of our fears and grasp firmly to our true shield.