Attack of the Blue Beetle

I used to collect comic books. Most of my comics were from the 70s into early 90s. However, I do have a few much older comics. One of them is a “Blue Beetle” comic. Annoyingly, a kid who owned it long ago wrote his name on the cover. On the other hand, doing so brought it down to a price I could afford.

I never really got into the Blue Beetle as a comic character although he has been around for decades. I am more familiar with two spoofs of this character. One of those is “The Tick” from New England Comics (a character I collected quite faithfully). The other was the Blue Beetle from the TV children’s program in the 70s, “The Electric Company.”

The inspiration for this particular post comes from a particular skit on The Electric Company some 40 years ago. In it, the Blue Beetle, supposedly a superhero, is being asked for help from a number of different people with different needs. For each, he sings a little song. Here is the song:

“Oh, I would if I could, but I can’t, so I won’t–

Please excuse me if I don’t.

I want this simple fact understood.

I would, (Yes I would) if I could

But I can’t, so I won’t.”

I loved that song. But I got thinking about that. I was reading the story of Naaman the Leper in the Bible (II Kings 5). The story refers to a young girl (don’t really know how young), Naaman was a general of the king or Aram and has leprosy. It says in verses 2-3,

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. …

That’s pretty much it. Not a lot of information. But let’s be honest, if there was anyone who could embrace the Blue Beetle song, it would this girl. She was young where wisdom was seen as the possession of the old. She was female in a patriarchal society. She was a servant… slave… captive of war. She had no money or possessions that were her own. She was a foreigner in a hostile land. Yet she was able to save a life, help lead a person (and probably entire family) to God, and in some very real way reduce tension between two warring nations.

The fact was that she actually had a lot.

  • She had relationships with people in power… and in need.
  • She was in the right circumstances to help.
  • She knew something that others needed to know.

Often when people think they can’t do anything they think God is too small or too unwilling to help. On the other hand sometimes the individuals don’t recognize what they have… they sell themselves too short.

Perhaps a better song for those in ministry would be:

“Oh, I wouldn’t if I couldn’t, but I can, so I will.

With God I’ll do it still.

And I want others to sing it too.

I wouldn’t, (Yes I wouldn’t) if I couldn’t

But I can, so I will.”

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