Thursday at 5:00, six teens and five "adult" chaperones scrambled to get seats together in the darkened theater during the last of the movie previews. I was excited to share this experience with my girls, but I was still skeptical about this teen idol of theirs... he's only 16! How can he possibly have lived enough life for them to make a movie about him? Most movies I've seen about music artists were made at the end of their career or after they were dead. This kid is just getting started...
The movie focused in on Madison Square Garden - the place where music artists long to perform, the place where they feel like they are truly successful. It takes most artists several years and a few hit records to get to that place. Justin Bieber performed at Madison Square Garden. At age 16. In the first year of his first album. And tickets to that show alone sold out in 22 minutes. He was sky-rocketed to superstardom, and because of his solid support team and die-hard fan base, no one thinks he is going to fade out anytime soon.
The thing that impressed me most was Bieber's passion and insatiable energy for what he does. He loves to make music, and he loves to make people feel happy and special. He is living his dream, and he's made major sacrifices to do so. At one point, when the pressure is high, he says he just wants life to go back to normal. His voice teacher sternly reminds him that this is the new normal in his life, for better or worse. Kind of the "with priviledge comes obligation" speech. Sure, you get fame and a thousand screaming fans, but you have to spend weeks away from your friends and family, take special care of your voice, and in some ways grow up faster than others. It's true, if you are very passionate about something and it is the most important thing in your life, you have to give up things that contradict or endanger it, and you have to receive other responsibilities that will improve and enhance your life.
And it made me wonder if followers of Jesus understand this. Do we have such passion and energy for serving Him? When we commit our lives to the Lord, we have a new "normal" to live in - one that demands we throw of what "so easily entangles" and "run with perseverence" the race given to us. We are a new creation - we can't live for ourselves like we used to, and we can't stay passively on the bench. There will be lonely times, challenges and frustrations along the way. But those are meant to draw us closer to Jesus, to lean into him and depend on his strength, his joy, his love to see us through. And when we do, he reminds us that we are living the dream - we have life to its very fullest, we have a Father who loves us and will never leave us, and we have purpose.
If a 16-year-old Canadian music star can sell out Madison Square Garden in a way no one has before, what could God do with a 27-year-old girl in a wheelchair who has decided to live completely for the Lord?
What could He do with you...?