Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Encountering Famous Ones

Last week, I had the opportunity through a friend to spend two nights at one of the most luxurious ski-in, ski-out hotels in the world. The skiing was fantastic, but the highlight of this place is the spa. The group of us, who are far from taking something like this for granted, spent a significant amount of time giggling our way through the sauna, steam room, cold-tub, and hot-tub over and over.

As we were preparing to leave for the last time, one of my friends came up to me wide-eyed. "I think I just saw Michael Strahan." For those who don’t know, Michael Strahan is one of the preeminent Defensive Ends in the NFL, and was a key leader in helping the New York Giants win the Super Bowl this last season. A few minutes later, as we were getting dressed, the man walked through, right behind me. I simply couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass. "Mister Strahan?" "Yeah, yeah…" he murmured. So, I shouted at him: "Congratulations!" "Thanks, man," he replied. I pressed further: "I thought YOU should have been the MVP." He laughed. "Well, you can’t divide that car up too many ways." "Yeah," I responded, having run out of my limited ability to make idle conversation. Well, see ya later, I thought, as I left with an awkward wave. He waved back.

Since then, I’ve been telling everyone about it. I met a celebrity. A particularly humongous celebrity at that. But this week, after the ump-teenth time of telling the story, a striking reality hit me:

Yeah, I talked to a celebrity for a few seconds. Truth is, he’s a normal human just like me and you. He’s good at some things and bad at others. Whoop-dee-do. In the scheme of things, there is nothing that is more exciting about that than meeting any other human being (who are all created in the Image of God and therefore all quite exciting). You want to know what's exciting on a level far beyond talking to a famous person? Every day, multiple times a day, I talk to the One who made Michael Strahan. Not only that, but He made the mountains, the oceans, and the stars in the farthest galaxies. He is as real as the football player who probably doesn’t even remember the awkward skinny guy who chatted with him in the locker room. But the One, the Triune God, does remember me.

I didn’t tell anyone about my encounters with the Truly Famous One during the days when I couldn’t not tell people about Mr. Strahan. But knowing that One, the Creator and Redeemer of the universe, is the most important knowledge anyone can ever attain. It should be the most exciting news I ever have, on any day: I got to talk to the King today. And he talked back. He told me he loves me. Can you believe it? It's the most wild thing that could ever happen. And it happens to me every day.

Sometimes, I start talking with that One and forget I’m talking with him. My mind will trail off. Or I’ll fall asleep. Or I’ll be addressing him but really talking about myself to myself. Even if I had hours to spend with the football player, that would never have happened. My attention would have been fixed on him, my adrenaline pumping. I would have tried to learn as much as I could about his life of fame, fortune, and football. I would have wanted to discover his humanness in it all. Why do I not do that with the King? He has granted me access to his inner courts any time I want. He has more fame, more fortune, and more prowess than all the athletes in the world combined (‘twould still be but a drop in his endless ocean of perfection).

If you pray, this is a reminder to you that every time you address the Lord in Heaven, you are engaging in the most holy activity that is possible in this life. You are encountering the most sought after, most generous, most righteous, and most powerful Person. If we really got that, there is no other person who could intimidate us or "starstrike" us. This is a wake up call to myself. I hope it is one to you, as well. Lord Jesus, King of the Heavens and the Earth, have mercy on me and my siblings. We just don’t get it most of the time. Help our unbelief. Amen.