The HULK might be one of my personal favourites when it comes to the heroes, especially when the Hulk was played by Lou Ferringno. What a beast!
The Hulk is a character that wins you over in a weird way. A massive monster that smashes and crushes his way through anything on a mission to head but the horizon. Cars, building, planes, tanks. It doesn’t matter what’s in the way, the Hulk is coming through you.
The Hulk is also just as stubborn as he is strong, in lots of films we can see the battle between Bruce Banner and the Hulk fight for dominance and who can really take control.
Not only is the Hulk stubborn and strong, really strong he is also a very angry monster too. When Dr Banner gets angry or feels stressed or is injured the Hulk takes over, rips his way through Dr Banners cotton shirts and silk trousers and starts a war path of destruction.
I think we can use the Hulk here to pull out a few things about ourselves that might be challenging to uncover.
The jaw is the strongest muscle in the human body, and a human male bites at about 150-200 PSI. A Pitbull gets around 235 psi but these guys have serious bite force:
10. Lion 650+ PSI
09. Jaguar 700+ PSI
08. Snapping Turtle 1,000+ PSI
07. Tiger 1,050 PSI+
06. Hyena 1100+ PSI
05. Polar Bear 1,200+ PSI
04. Silverback Gorilla 1,300+ PSI
03. Hippo 1,800+ PSI
02. Salt Water Crocodile 7,700+ PSI
01. Killer Whale 19,000+ PSI
Unbeatable… unless you’re Jaws from 007 The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker! He could bite at a whopping 64,000 PSI. (These figures are based on personal estimates and have no scientific proof, at all).
What comes to mind when you think about the term ‘strength?’
Muscles? The ability to deadlift 130kg (my personal best). Strength physically is an obvious one, how about emotional strength? Police dealing with a road accident show incredible emotional strength managing a crisis which requires a clear head and decisive action.
There will be moments in our lives when physical strength is essential, some heavy lifting needed to get the job done. There will also be times when emotional strength will be needed. We live in a time when men are encouraged to cry and show emotions, and of course I have no problem with that, so long as there is a balance. Some men will take a great sense of value and identity in being able to suppress emotions when the time for that is right. It’s important we celebrate that too, both ends of the spectrum. Encouraging men to show emotion and celebrating that, whilst also recognising the men who manage to suppress emotion when the situation is right and calls for such a skill, which needs to be celebrated too. Like the soldiers who are trained to do the job, take the order and execute the job without emotion. What do you think? Is this a fair comment?
One man was facing a corrupt trial where his name was slandered. People came out and openly lied about him giving false testimony. He was beaten, flogged and punched in the face. Crowds spat at him, pulled his hair and jeered as his naked frame was on show. This man was forced to wear a crown made from thrones and nails driven through his wrists and ankles as he was lifted up and crucified publicly.
At any point in this process, this man was stronger and more capable than the Hulk could ever have been. He could have used physical strength to crush everyone there, he didn’t do it. He could have been crying endlessly and calling out to be rescued and cursing everyone around. He didn’t.
He took the punishment, the death and the pain – in almost complete silence, just speaking out one phrase, a prayer to his dad to forgive the men that were murdering him. You want strength? There it is.
What does strength mean to you? What ways do you show strength in your life? What are the moments in your life where you’ve needed emotional strength? Maybe you need support to get that strength and fight back in your life.
Reflect on these words from Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.