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My great-grandfather was Batman


The Life Less Traveled


September 26, 2012
I'm sure this will come as quite a shock, but it's time for the world to know the truth. Batman is in my blood. My great-grandfather's name was Robert S. Batman, which, let's face it, is pretty awesome. How many people can honestly say they are related to Batman? Christian Bale's family doesn't count. He's just an actor. I am descended from the real McCoy. Batman was on his birth certificate.

But here's the weird part. As a kid, I hardly ever thought about it, which is bizarre considering I was an absolute comic book nut. I lived, ate and breathed superheroes. I watched every Adam West "Batman" episode a hundred times over. I even had my own cape, rope and homemade grappling hook.

The only time I can remember thinking about the fact that my great-granddad was a Batman was when he'd get the occasional prank call. It went something like, "Is this Batman's? It is? Can I talk to Robin? Hahahaha!" I guess when you're Batman, you're bound to get a few jokers.

Here was the problem. I'd seen his name, spoken his name and thought his name so many times that the familiarity made me forget how incredible of a name he really had. In fact, I hadn't thought about it in years until a cousin of mine posted a picture of him on Facebook a few weeks ago. Immediately, someone commented, "You're related to Batman?!"

That reminded me of how easy it is to let familiarity dull your wonder. As a comic book-crazed kid, I should have been blown away that my great-granddad's name was Batman. Instead, I barely gave it a second thought.

The funny thing is that I find I do the same thing with God. When you read the names of God in the Bible, they're breathtaking. El Roy. The God who sees. El Shaddai. God almighty. Jehovah-Jireh. God the provider. I know God to be all of these things in my life. I know He is the God who sees my circumstances, is powerful enough to answer my prayers and provides for my every need.

And, yet, like with my Granddad Batman, because God is so familiar, I sometimes forget how awesome His name really is. That's when I miss out. That's when my familiarity cheats me of experiencing all that God is and wants to be in my life.

As fantastic as it is to have a superhero great-grandfather, it's even better to have a heavenly Dad who also happens to be the King of the universe. When I call on His name, He answers and brings all the resources of heaven to help His child in need. No bat signal necessary.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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