May 01, 2009
It was with an unexpectedly deep sadness that I read about the passing of one of Las Vegas’ most influential and talented entertainers – Danny Gans.
After several attempts to see his show, my wife and I caught Danny’s show just this past February. It was truly amazing… He was a master showman. What impressed me the most was not his singing or impressions (which were truly phenomenal in their own right) but, rather it was that he was truly interested in giving the best show he could to every single audience. He worked us continually – changing on the spot to what we responded to best. He jumped around decades in his music trying to find what would resonate most for us, and it worked…
His show was great – REALLY great.
I was very touched during his tribute song to his family and his stories of all the support they gave him during the tough years of travel prior to hitting it big in Vegas. I actually had seen him nearly 15 years prior in Worcester, MA at the old Colosseum. He was funny then too, but I didn’t fully appreciate who he was at the time. It wasn’t until many years later, seeing his picture on big board at the Mirage, that I put 2 and 2 together.
I was also very touched that he was so transparent with his faith. From his direct testimony during the show to doing little things like pointing to the sky while singing lyrics like “Who can make the sun shine?” during Bojangles, there was no question that this man loved his God.
It is inevitable when something like this happens to start to wonder – how can God let this happen? Why would He take a man that truly loves Him and leave behind a family that will forever be changed by the passing of a loving husband and committed father?
This is where our faith comes in… We either believe Romans 8:28, or we don’t.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
It is hard in the face of such tragedy to remain faithful, but it is to for our betterment that we do so. Rather than questioning God and his motives, we would do better to examine what would we have done without our faith during these tough times? Faith in God and in Christ isn’t a free ride. It isn’t all bubblegum, pink stars and dancing ponys. But, if you remain committed to your relationship with Him you are guaranteed that whatever happens, God will eventually work it for your good. In His time. It likely won’t be evident until much later, but it will be evident. Don’t think that means – EASY. Many times in life, the RIGHT thing and the BEST thing isn’t easy at all.
I’ve used the analogy that our lives are like a fine tapestry in the process of being woven. We see the tapestry from the back and typically have an ugly view of a myriad of knots and threads making up a nearly incomprehensible intersection of color and texture. Yet, every once in a while God treats us to a view of the front, where a beautiful picture is being woven through our faith and obedience to the Weaver. We just don’t have the full picture, and we either trust God in His ways, or we don’t. I’m not saying that we can’t be sad or scared or upset – that is a very natural response. Fortunately though, we don’t have to be. We have also been promised the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding and that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I think that is my favorite verse of all time. It means that we can face inexplicable hardship and still somehow through the Love of Christ, be at Peace.
I pray that Danny’s family can place their trust in God and can somehow find that Peace during what will likely be one of the toughest time of their lives.
For Danny, I pray that he hears the words that all Christians want to hear upon meeting their maker – “Well done, good and faithful servant!”