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Lead Me On: When Stephen Colbert Says That’s Not Good Enough

Are you measuring against the wrong benchmark?

However, confusion will do that to a person. We know the drill. It’s disorienting. Especially when we think we have pushed something through to a flourishing God-finish, only to find out we were measuring success with the wrong benchmark

What is God known to do in these situations? In the spirit of the-Bible-is-always-just-a-little-different-than-I-thought-it-would-be, the author approaches this sad Elijah character with the kindest thing.

Warm bread.

“As he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, ‘Get up and eat!’ He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again” (1 Kings 19:5-6).

Bread. Rest.

Exactly what Elijah didn’t even know that he needed most. Which just goes to show that pushing through “good enough” with God is a very unique undertaking. The practicalities can look odd. All hope may appear lost. The process is uncomfortable and hard, and we can feel like failed soldiers in God’s army, right up until the pushing through testifies to what Elijah’s ancestors had been told: “The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you….” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

Understanding that helped Elijah get his groove back. There was more bread. More angel. More God! A famous scene with a still, small voice. A list of friends to help with upcoming assignments. A God caring for his child, who needed a hand.

And then, back to work. “So Elijah went and found Elisha…” (1 Kings 19:19)

Onward. After all, “The Lord your God is indeed God.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

There is a great deal left to push through with the help of God, whom, Elijah found out, is inconceivably and affectionately…personal.

As for Colbert, he hoped people would most affectionately not take him personally at all—or so he told each guest before he started his show. He told the Slate audience that he instructed each guest, “I do the show in character. He’s an idiot. Please honestly disabuse me of my ignorance and we’ll have a great time.”

Later this year, as Colbert takes the helm as new host of CBS’s The Late Show, an entirely new viewing audience will have to decide if that’s good enough.

Janelle Alberts is a freelance PR and media relations specialist and has managed communication needs for clients such as Microsoft, Wells Fargo and UPS. She started her first religious column in 2010 for the Akron Beacon Journal and has since written for Atlanta Parent Magazine, Christianity Today’s women’s online sections, and Catholic News Service, among others.

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