The Voice

I only started recording and watching "The Voice" last season. I found it to be a perfect treadmill show because I don’t have to catch every word but can get distracted enough to forget I’m walking. Unlike some talent-based reality shows, "The Voice" sets a tone where everyone is rooting for the contestants. And when someone doesn’t have any chairs turn, affirmations and constructive feedback are given not ridicule.  The contestant is never the butt of the joke.
 
We are wired to love “winners,” and these shows tap into that vicarious desire in all of us to publically show the world how special we are on a big platform. So many older contestants refer to their audition as “their last chance” on the journey to pursue music as a full-time career, while the younger ones are most likely hoping to bypass some of the dues-paying years with an overnight success story. Our emotional connection to each contestant is enhanced with background stories around loss, sickness, and brokenness.
 
Where I have found myself the most struck though is something that happens off stage. In most cases, the contestant has family and friends in the wings where they can see both the live side view of their loved one as well as a monitor that shows what the at-home audience is seeing. Those folks reflect the true intensity of the moment as they watch the performance unfold. Regardless of religious background, all seem to be prayerfully willing a positive outcome.
 
Although I feel a sense of relief and pleasure when a judge’s chair turns, guaranteeing a spot moving forward, I involuntarily have tears come to my eyes each and every time I see the parents react to the turned chair with unbridled joy. They are so invested and thrilled for their child (even if “child” is middle-aged) and every bit of those feelings can be seen on their faces.  I think it’s possible that parents’ happiness could exceed the child’s because our children’s success often feels purer than our own.
  
As I’ve pondered my repeated, visceral reaction to the parents on "The Voice," I’ve wondered about our loving Father God watching us day in and day out. What if I truly believed that God was beside himself at times on my behalf, bursting at the seams because I’ve worked hard and utilized his gifts to me in a way that brings honor to him. Do I remember that he does root for me and wants me to have “hope and a future?”
 
God’s repeated use of the parent-child metaphor throughout the Bible should not be taken lightly. Similar to marriage imagery, he is using human relational connections to illustrate his connection to us.  He is the Father, Jesus is the Son, we are both his children and the Bride of Christ. Familial love and connection are the backbones of the Christian story.
 
Not everyone has positive earthly family ties, and yet, all are welcome to embrace the Heavenly Father and his Son and let them beam with pride over you.  Just like earthly parents can shed tears of joy as their imperfect children utilize their gifts beautifully, God the Father longs for us to feel his unconditional love and passion toward us. Instead of characterizing God’s love for us via flawed earthly relationships, lean into his perfect love. His is the one voice to which we should listen.