A blog by Josh Humbert
Look, there may not be many positives I can list out about professional wrestling. As a kid who grew up watching WWE/WCW in the 80’s and 90’s, I totally understand how much of it is…indefensible.
You want to criticize it? That’s fair. You want to bash it? Ok, I get it. Most of it is quite bad, I’m with you.
But…hey, I’m serious right now, stop looking at me like that…but…what if?
What if there’s something good and right found in wrestling?
What if the greatness isn’t just limited to the ring?
The book of Isaiah can be a hard but rewarding slice of the Bible and it’s finishing chapters are absolutely astonishing. After the prophet has chronicled the sins of God’s people, called them to repentance, and told of a coming Messiah…you get to Isaiah 55 and God’s offer, as it were.
Here are the first 7 verses of God speaking in Isaiah 55:
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money on what is not bread, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David. Behold I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, and a nation which knows you not will run to you, because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you. Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
This is an offer of stunning and epic proportions. God speaks it clear, plain, and true. In this life, you can choose to chase what the world offers you but it will leave you miserable and empty. You will be ripped off. OR…You can take God up on His offer. You can find ultimate satisfaction and joy in Him. You can find exactly what You need in Him.
And…to top it all off…God says, “It’s free.”
What kind of God is this?
Madalyn Murray O’Hair was one of the most prominent atheists of the last century. She was the founder of the organization called American Atheists and she helped create the first issues of American Atheist Magazine. O’Hair was also instrumental in several cases involving schools and religion.
When she died, she owed back taxes to the federal government so her diaries were auctioned off. In her diaries you see a miserable woman who didn’t even trust those in her own organization. You see a human being struggling with emptiness and pain. She says about herself, “I have failed in marriage, motherhood, and as a politician.”
In another place, she wrote, “The whole idiotic hopelessness of human relations descends upon me. Tonight, I cried and cried, but even then feeling nothing.”
Perhaps the most heartbreaking line she penned was one she repeated over six times throughout her diaries. She wrote this plea, “Somebody, somewhere, love me.” Incredible and tragic.
Maybe this is what it sounds like to have refused God’s offer in Isaiah 55. Madalyn Murray O’Hair had rejected His offer and chosen the things of this world…and in the end, you can hear the tragic realization that she had been ripped off.
What if it’s the fans? The fans of wrestling are where we find something good. You see, there come these rare moments in wrestling when the fans give us something worthwhile.
When a match is truly reaching classic-status, when the best of the best are reaching their wrestling apex, when fans KNOW they are witnessing a performance for the ages…you can hear this chant start to slowly build in the audience till it becomes a full-throated roar….
“THIS IS AWESOME!” the people say. “THIS IS AWESOME!”
It is a realization verbalized. No holding back or staying in check. When wrestling fans are confronted with greatness, they join as one to loudly declare that…indeed….THIS IS AWESOME!
I find that to be good and worthwhile because I cannot help but feel the same as I come to portions of Scripture like Isaiah 55. As I studied it for a recent sermon I was writing, THAT was my response. “God…what You declare in this text….THIS IS AWESOME!”
I have nothing to offer God, nothing to impress Him with. But He says I can come to eat and drink abundantly? THIS IS AWESOME!
I am tired of being ripped off by the world, I want something that satisfies. He has the answer and He says I can come and live? THIS IS AWESOME!
I am a wicked, unrighteous man who needs to repent. I want to find salvation, acceptance, security, and an everlasting covenant. He says I will receive all of that plus His compassion and abundant pardon? THIS IS AWESOME!
I am poor, no, beyond that. I am broke. I have no currency He would accept. But…He says….. “It’s FREE.”
This is awesome. This is true love.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair had a desperate need of a love that was real, true, and lasting. Just like me. Just like you. What she so greatly desired is exactly what we all seek. We are the same in that regard.
Somebody, somewhere, love me.
That is a need that cannot be escaped. It is a line of code in our system that can’t be erased. It is a “feature, not a bug.” We are made with a need for the greatest love possible. Our hearts will be miserable and empty till they say YES to the offer God gives in Isaiah 55.
We can receive the free gift of God because Jesus has paid our price. He lived a life of perfect obedience, yet faced the entirety of God’s wrath. As our Substitute, Jesus paid the outrageous debt we owed and could not pay.
Somebody, somewhere, DOES love us. The proof is Calvary.
Greater still, Jesus ROSE again in victory. The grave is not final. Loneliness is defeated. The “whole idiotic hopelessness of human relations” has been overturned by our Savior. There is now the possibility of a life FULL of hope, meaning, purpose, justice and goodness. When we say YES to Jesus, we get the radical, gracious love of God upon us forever. We get Jesus Himself with us.
And we get to tell others about the greatest offer ever extended to people.
THIS IS AWESOME!!
Among all the possessions and books of O’Hairs that were auctioned off, one stands out: a Bible. Yes, this unapologetic atheist had kept a Bible given to her many years before by a 6th grade girls Sunday School class from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The woman who had once fought to have the Bible removed from school had kept one for decades.
I won’t make any assumptions about where O’Hair is spending eternity. But I know that because of the compassion of some young girls from Winnetka Heights Baptist Church in Oklahoma, she had a copy of God’s Word.
God’s astonishing offer in Isaiah and through the entirety of Scripture was on her shelf, waiting to be discovered. The love she so desperately needed was in the pages of that Bible.
So it is for you and me now. Yes, there are so many things to be done today. Sure, your time is limited and your to-do list haunts your thinking even now.
However, the greatest offer you’ll ever receive awaits your response. Scripture still rings out. God’s Call echoes down the ages to this moment you have.
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.
Here is a song by Kings Kaleidoscope that captures the heartbeat of this piece I’ve written. May it be strength to you.
Thanks for reading. Your comments and insights are always welcomed. If you enjoyed this, please share it. Want more content? Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.
THIS IS AWESOME