It’s at about the 50 second mark. Sixteen-year-old Jacquie Lee’s time is almost up and none of the super star judges have activated the switch to turn their chair around, signaling approval of Ms. Lee’s performance. If none of them turn, her journey will be over in less time than it takes to change classes at school.
Christina Aguilera’s hand hovers over the button. Time is nearly gone as she finally pounces on her button, convincing Blake Shelton to rapidly follow suit. Both chairs spin around to a smiling young lady. She has been accepted. She has received the approval of people who could propel her into stardom.
It’s the last few seconds of an unvalidated performance that gets to me. Cameras focus on judges contemplating their strategy, matching what they are hearing with what they need for their team to win the competition. Parents and friends of the performer stand behind the scenes watching on a screen, praying and willing the judges to move their hands that final centimeter to press the button that is the key to their loved one’s future.
However, it’s the performer I most relate with. She knows time is slipping away. Panic sets in. I imagine that she is begging and pleading with the judges the only way she can: by performing the best she can, unleashing all the vocal tricks that will get their attention. She starves for their approval.
I love it when they button is finally pressed. In fact, I generally don’t watch the show after this part. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just need to use my time better. But there’s something about how I empathize with the performers in these instances that invigorates me spiritually.
Many of the things I’ve pursued have provided a similar scenario: music major in college, church planter, writer, job searcher. I often stand on a different kind of stage where I’ve risked a lot to get the approval of others. There have been so many times the button hasn’t been pressed and I’ve left the stage defeated and rejected.
I’m sure you have similar experiences.
But, I’ve learned this one thing about striving for acceptance: there is One who will always push the button for me. Jesus Christ approves all of my efforts to please and follow him even if nobody else who is judging me does.
This Friday is Good Friday, the day to remember that Jesus cast his vote for you. It wasn’t done with a red button while seated in a chair of honor. It was with his red blood on a cross of humiliation. And he doesn’t just give you a shot at victory, guarantees it.
Have a great Good Friday!
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1st Peter 2:9-10, The Message)