“OH….MY….GOSH!” Look!!! There he is!,” Chris yelled.
“Shut-up Chris!,” I said quietly. “Don’t act stupid. He’ll hear us. “He’s huge,” I said extending my arms inconspicuously.
“Go talk to him,” Chris said.
“No way bro, he’ll kill us,” I said. “He looks mad.”
“He always looks that way,” Chris said. “Oh my God…he’s walking toward us.”
Charles Barkley approached us and stood right in front of us, face-to-face. He looked down at Chris and I, who were completely frozen in fear, in our eyes and said something I would never,…..ever….. forget. He shook his head and said…wait for it….wait for it…he said, “All of you white boys look alike,” then turned, continuing to shake his head and laugh, and walked away. It was the greatest day of my life! Lol.
Chris responded like a little girl backstage at a Justin Bieber concert. I thought Chris was going to faint, lol. I was completely calm…OK, so I was like a little girl backstage at a Justin Bieber concert too. I was empty of all confidence. But that’s not the point! Have you ever tried to approach a celebrity, local or otherwise, that was so intimidating that you had to really plan out what you were going to say and how you were going to say it? You told yourself it was no big deal, but when the time came to actually meet the person, the butterflies in your stomach felt like military helicopters starting-up. It’s nerve-wracking isn’t it. We tried to conjure up the confidence to speak to the star confidently, but then totally wilted on the spot. Our words wouldn’t come out right, we stumbled over our words or we just froze in fear, lol.
I remember when I first met my wife, Jo. We made eye contact and I, all 6’3 1/2″, 247-lbs. of me froze. I think I sputtered a few words, probably what psychologists would call “word salad” (Google it later). It was probably incoherent and I probably allowed some drool to seep out of the corner of my mouth, lol. Sorry, I know that’s probably gross. But all of the confidence I had on the way to meet her for the first time, all of the self-talk, all of the rationalization that “it’s no big deal” went directly out the proverbial window. Gone. I was empty of all confidence.
This is how we feel and act when we approach human celebrities. What should we feel when we approach the Almighty God, the One who created the entire universe, our solar system, every creature that has ever existed on earth (including human beings of course) and who keeps it all in place with His sovereign providence and power? Unlike our approach to human celebrities (fear, insecurity and with a lack of confidence), we are to approach God with confidence, expecting to receive something much, much greater and much, much more valuable than an autograph. We are to expect to receive mercy and to find grace.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV, 1984)
Aren’t you glad God is approachable. Aren’t you glad that, unlike approaching a celebrity or star, you are guaranteed to receive the most valuable treasure a human could receive, God’s very mercy and grace upon your life, especially during your greatest time of need? God is not only sending that message to you, but He’s saying that the most powerful, rich and famous people in the world will not always give you their most valuable possessions, rarely if ever in fact. They will not always give you anything at all. In fact, they don’t have the ability or the resources, as wealthy as they are, to give you exactly what you need today; mercy and grace.
If you’re a human being, you need God’s mercy and grace today, right now. And you can receive it every single time you ask for it.
“How can this be???”
God made it possible for you to receive because, unlike the celebrities and rich and famous and powerful, God gave you something, He gave the world something that no other person in history could give. God gave His perfect Son, Jesus, to be tortured, mocked, shamed and to be unfairly tried and crucified so that the sin between you and God could be destroyed, removing the barrier between you and God. And that’s why you can approach the throne of grace, where the Almighty God sits enthroned, with confidence (no need to fear Him…HE LOVES YOU!), knowing you are guaranteed to receive mercy and always, always, always find grace in your times of need.
“Father, thank You for making the way to You clear for me to come to You. Thank You for never witholding your mercy and grace from me. I mess up so much. Forgive me, Lord. Help me today to be the person you want me to be and forgive me when I miss the mark. I love You Lord because You first loved me. I am so humbled that You would love me. Protect me from temptation today and protect my loved ones. May Your will be done in my life today. It’s all Yours Father. Amen.”