Jimmy Fallon's interview with Nicole Kidman has gone viral. Here's why: during their conversation, the late night comedian learned that he had a chance to date the famous actress. Years ago, a friend called him to say that Nicole wanted to meet him. Jimmy thought she was interested in discussing a film project. So he met her at his apartment while wearing a baseball cap and casual clothes; he had only cheese and crackers to eat, played video games and didn't talk much.
During their now-viral interview, she set the record straight: she was single at the time and had been interested in dating him. He had been so unresponsive that she thought, "He has no interest. This is so embarrassing. No chemistry. Maybe he's gay." He had no clue until the moment she told her side of the story. The video recording their very awkward conversation now has more than seven million views.
One obvious answer is that watching Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman tell an embarrassing story about each other is predictably amusing. But I think there's more at work here. Guys empathize with Jimmy's cluelessness; women empathize with Nicole's embarrassment in dealing with it. We all know what it is to be awkward with someone we want to impress. And so we watched Jimmy and Nicole's red-faced conversation vicariously.
Now let's consider their ill-fated relationship in spiritual context. Most of us have no idea how much God loves us. Our culture programs us to approach our Father as a dispenser of blessings to those who earn them. We transact business with him—go to church on Sunday so he will help you on Monday. We settle for religious routine, thinking that's the Christian faith.
As Brennan Manning warns in The Ragamuffin Gospel, "when Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead. When I conclude that I can now cope with the awful love of God, I have headed for the shallows to avoid the deeps. I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God."
According to Thomas Merton, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God." Brennan Manning agreed: "My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it." Julian of Norwich added: "The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love." When we encounter God's transforming love, others will see Jesus in us and will want what they see.
The God who made the universe doesn't want to date you—he wants to show you his "wild, uncontainable love" every moment of every day. But he can give only what we will receive. When last did you ask your Father to reveal his love for you?
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