Who cries watching American Idol? Um, I did. Yep. Bawled like a baby. Ever had a moment when God entered a room unexpectedly? Kind of like when the disciples were hiding out after Jesus’ death behind locked doors. Suddenly, there was Jesus. ALIVE. I can tell you what my reaction would have been. 2 words. But only the first would have been accurate. Holy. And I guess that’s it. Jesus didn’t enter through the door. He entered supernaturally. To the disciples, yes, and in the American Idol studio. Totally unexpected in both places.
As Curtis Finch Jr. sang “I Believe I Can Fly” in Season 12, the judges rose to their feet, ferociously applauding and waving their hands in the air. I waited for the typical, “that was fabulous” reactions given for an outstanding singing performance. Not so.
Keith Urban: “We just had a sermon in Vegas, baby! ...you just ooze everything good and light and godly...you just have so much hope in you, and we need so much of that man. Thank you very much...”
Nicki Minaj (let me re-iterate that: NICKI MINAJ): This is bigger than American Idol to me. When you make people feel good, when you make people feel powerful, when you make people feel like they can fly, that’s something that was given to you by Somebody else, a higher power. That is not something that can even be measured in the amount of votes you get tonight. I don’t care how many votes you get for the rest of your life, you have a calling on your life to bless people, and to do so much good, and I really hope and pray you make that kind of an album...people need that right now...people are hurting, we need that...this is what we need from you. We need that.”
Randy Jackson: “Let’s just all say Praise God to start this off...”
Mariah Carey: “First of all, I want to thank you for that performance because the energy that you gave off and what you were feeling and spreading to us just so generously was I what I needed in this moment right now in my life, so I just want to thank you for that...When we hear you sing... and you adding everything you said, and when you said “with God I can fly,” and you made me feel like man, thank you that Curtis is here tonight.”
Ryan Seacrest: “You lifted the entire spirit in this arena tonight.”
And Curtis’ comment when later interviewed, “What is one of your favorite moments?”
Answer: “That time I got a chance to sing I Believe I Can Fly. The energy from the audience was amazing. I felt like I was standing in a room of believers, knowing that they could do anything once they set their mind to it.”
I’ve experienced God moments when I’m in church for sure, or in my own life. But this was the first time I watched others who do NOT claim Christ experience His presence and respond so passionately. Scripture came alive for me:
Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG) “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Curtis prompted people to open up with God, but he didn’t preach a sermon. He didn’t use accusations or arguments or guilt. He was just… himself. Doing the very thing he loved to do and was born to do. That moment had nothing to do with winning a competition or being the best of the best vocally but everything to do with shining passionately just as God created him.
How many times do I get so wrapped up in becoming a better version of myself or maybe just someone different altogether that I actually miss opportunities to shine just as God made me? We are God’s Masterpiece, His Poetry,(Eph. 2:10), and instead of opening up to others so they can experience Him, I’m busy editing and critiquing His work. And missing moments to shine.
Imagine a world where we didn’t worry about what we are NOT. Imagine a world where we lived just as we ARE. Free to shine. Even in the broken places. Maybe especially through the broken places.
How will you shine today, bringing out the God-colors in this world in ways that only YOU can?