Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Time to Celebrate

"So... there is just this stuff that squirts water at us?" My oldest sounded less than enthused. She'd never been to a splash pad. Neither had I for that matter.  

"Basically," I responded with some enthusiasm. "Let's just try it out. I've heard it's really great." And so as the temperature made its inevitable ascent, we 5 piled into the van for an adventure 30 minutes away. 

Let me just say the kids were totally impressed. We drove up to an enormous jungle gym coupled closely with the satisfyingly wet splash pad. Kids screaming as they careened through walls of water, little boys laughing recklessly as they sat on streams of water shooting from the ground. It was all hilarity and mayhem, and my kids fit right in. 

It's not lost on me that in the past days we have been celebrating, laughing even, while our nation mourns, while we shake our heads and wonder at the depths of depravity all around us. We have prayed. We have called for justice. And then we have smiled as our kids run abandoned through a park of water.  

We celebrated on Sunday as well. My husband celebrated 10 years in the pastoral ministry and the church banded together with funny t-shirts and prayers and a standing ovation. We ate delicious cake with purple frosting and took pictures to post on Facebook. 

I thought of those who were mourning. The people Scott preached about. Those who need the hope of Christ. And here is what hit me- we are to minister to those in pain, to comfort with the comfort we ourselves have received from God, but that comfort is nothing if we spend all our resources focusing on the injustice to the exclusion of the goodness God pours freely every single day. 

Rejoice in the Lord always. Give thanks in all circumstances. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits. 

My kids ran recklessly, showered, misted, doused with the refreshing water. And no amount of sorrow made them any less wet. The atrocities of humankind, and I am not ignoring that the acts taken recently have been particularly atrocious, cannot diminish the goodness of our God. We are saturated with His love. 

The schemes of the devil can in no way diminish the glory of our God. They cannot remove our salvation. They cannot reverse the atonement of Christ. They cannot put Jesus back in the tomb. They cannot rob me of the faith that is mine in Christ.  

And he knows this so he distracts us. He deceives us into thinking that our brooding and battle lines will do more good than giving glory to the only One who can defeat death and bring true peace. I thank God every time I see a post on Facebook that acknowledges the hurt and evil around us in light of the gospel. 

We are called to minister, to bind up, to cry out for justice. We are called to pray and seek God's will. We see all those things in the Psalms. We are not called to despair, become cynics, or doomsday prophets.   
There is a time for everything, but never a time to forget the goodness of God.

We are called to recognize and proclaim the saturating, penetrating, love of a God who grieves with us, but not like us, because even in the darkest times He knows He is working all things for good. And as that ethereal "good" proves too elusive for our fallen eyes, He gives us His Spirit. 

So I am trying again to be more intentional about celebrating God. To love, mourn, pray, listen, and celebrate deliberately. Because we should not let satan win his little battles in words of hopelessness and "what do we do now?" 

Thanks only to the God of the universe we are more than conquerors, and that is something worth seriously celebrating.