Outside of watching sports, I am not much of a tv watcher. I will sometimes watch reruns of past shows I like or a nature or historical documentary. I will occasionally watch a favorite movie if I see it in the channel guide. I hardly ever watch any current programming unless “24” happens to have a season in progress.
One new exception to my neglect of current television is that I have come to like “America’s Got Talent”. I primarily got hooked on the show by watching YouTube videos of it and other Got Talent shows before I ever even saw the show on tv. This season, the show has become a favorite for the whole family to watch.
Competing on a show like this is something I would personally loathe to do. Besides not having a recognizable talent to present in the first place, I would absolutely hate being the center of attention as I performed. But I enjoy watching others on stage. It is enjoyable to watch someone who performs well at whatever they may be doing, be it singing or dancing or magic or comedy. It is all the more pleasing when someone is a natural entertainer and they confidently command the stage.
But the ones who are my favorites are the ones who are good at what they do but are also outwardly nervous or awkward or shy or unassuming. Many who you can tell have probably never performed much at all before audiences, let alone a large theater audience with a set of celebrity judges. Or those who have no preconceived notions of how great they are and are just trying to get through their performance without falling apart. My absolute favorites are these apprehensive ones who are exceedingly relieved just to finish but are really good and then watching their reaction to the audience who are overwhelmingly applauding their performance. Throw in a golden buzzer from one of the judges and it’s one big pot of tear inducing joy and elation and stunned bewilderment.
In a different sense, I imagine in some ways this is a small glimpse of what it is like when we cry out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Most especially on that day when we pass from this earth and meet our Lord. Except that our performance wasn’t actually very good, save our humble request to God. Our relief will certainly be there as we realize we made it to the end despite our many stumbles and struggles. As we are greeted by a celestial welcome of the saints that have gone on before us along with other heavenly beings, we will finally meet our Savior face-to-face in a moment that we would struggle in our present state to find the words to describe with any sufficiency. And just maybe we would even hear that golden buzzer from our Master as He would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It will be one big pot of tear inducing joy and elation and stunned bewilderment.
I doubt that many of us that day will enter the Lord’s presence saying, “God, thank you that I’m not like other men.” If that is our attitude, I would question the possibility of us even being in this position because we may not have ever received or understood God’s mercy in the first place. But even if we were to approach God’s presence in that day with such a demeanor, I believe we will be quickly blown away by what we see and experience. We will be quickly humbled and bewildered and filled with genuine joy in a glorious fashion.
So we look forward to that day when we meet our Lord, whether from our passing from this earth or in His return to it. And unlike those who receive great applause on “America’s Got Talent” or in any other earthly venue, the ability to pass through the gates of judgment and receive a beautiful welcome and affirmation will have nothing to do with the quality of our performance but only the quality and mercy and grace of our Judge.