As I was watching America’s Got Talent last night, I had a curious thought that caught me by surprise, in the best way possible. If you are unfamiliar with this show, let me explain the premise. Basically, it is America’s largest talent show. It exists to find and elevate America’s most talented individual or group to headline a show in Las Vegas, no matter what the talent is. You could be bringing your chicken on stage to play a song on the piano, showing off your ability to withstand pain, or you could be a ventriloquist that brings life to a puppet. Of course these novelty type acts are few and far between, but people showcase these things. As for singers, there is no shortage.
One in particular was a 16-year old boy who was blind during his early childhood. In his story, his mother discussed his journey and how they had been trying some type of gene therapy to restore his vision. When he approached the stage for the first time (these early episodes are just auditions), an ordinary person wouldn’t think that he had any kind of vision impairment. I am sure that his vision isn’t perfect, but he came on stage without a walking stick and wearing a normal pair of eyeglasses.
First of all, I must say that this amazed me. As an engineer, I guess I am just clueless to today’s advanced medical solutions, and I didn’t know that we had reached that point in today’s technology to restore sight to the blind without an act of God. It was truly amazing to watch him. He approached the stage with jitters of nervousness and seemed a bit out of place, but when he was given the “go ahead”, he proceeded to sing “Who's Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5 and absolutely stunned the entire building with his voice.
After his performance, a judge asked him, “If you could have one wish come true right now, what would it be?” The boy asked for the golden buzzer (which essentially is awarded to only 5 acts in the entire audition pool to be saved from any cuts after auditions), and he was granted that wish immediately. The emotions that took place afterward in that building- the crying, the applauding, the joy – prompted the curious thought that I mentioned before. I thought, “Wow, that boy is getting so much acceptance not just for his voice, but for who he has become as a person. God must be even more proud of us than that.”
Which if you were watching, you’d understand that it is probably difficult to experience that much love and acceptance in one moment here on Earth like that boy did. But to think that God, in the amazing Father that he is, has been giving it to us constantly for our entire lives is extraordinary. We learn from Romans (and quite earlier actually) that we as humans are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory. And then we watch multiple sinners come before Jesus and experience this love and acceptance through forgiveness.
Forgiveness heals. In Luke 7, Jesus forgives a woman who comes before him with her many sins and messed-up life. He tells a parable that ends with this:
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Jesus is ready to pour out his forgiveness (in which God gave him authority) to anyone that would come to him and realize their need for him.
“God blesses those who are poor, and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – Matthew 5:3 NLT
So, to know that the God of the universe makes us right with himself through a simple act of realizing our need for him is what God wants from us. We know he wants this because God is portrayed as a Father that celebrates his children throughout the New Testament. God himself accepts us for who we are. He has created us to have relationship with Him, and this has been true our entire lives.
It is difficult to compare what that boy on stage must have been experiencing emotionally in that moment to the emotions the sinful woman was experiencing as she wept at the feet of Jesus and learned of her forgiveness. But one could agree that both probably felt acceptance, and most likely, more acceptance than they were expecting to feel when they walked into the room.
About the Author: Jaret is originally from Sugar Land, TX, but moved to Ann Arbor with his wife after graduating from Texas A&M to be an engineer for Toyota. They now live in Ypsilanti and have a puppy for a child. Jaret loves community and making friends, and can’t get enough of these Michigan summers!