BE THE PERSON
That Celebrates the Hard Places
"Celebrate the hard places?! Who wants to do that?!" Most avoid the hard places in life. This sin-ridden world is filled with poverty, neglect, abuse, sickness, and it is seemingly hard to find any place to celebrate, especially the HARD PLACES.
It is easier to turn a blind eye, and while going through trials, to live in denial, and the hope that it will all soon be over.
What if it doesn't end? What if it gets harder? What if you pray and the answer never comes? What do you do then? What do you do for the children that do not get to leave the hard places? How do you find peace and an answer to prayer? Do I now celebrate the hard places?
How do I celebrate the Hard Places?
Celebrate in that Moment
The minute that you have been crushed by trial or disappointment, Celebrate! Praise! Rejoice!
Celebrating the moment that a seemingly insurmountable trial hits, takes determination, knowing the truth of God's word, and laser-focus on Christ. It does not come easy. It is not handed to you. It is a choice. A choice to praise instead of gaze in every direction for answers besides Christ alone.
In the Bible, David is a great example of this. In I Samuel 30:6 it says, “Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
David and his mighty men, along with their wives and children, had been kidnapped and their property plundered. David had sent his men to war and while at war, an enemy took advantage of their absence. David's men were ready to kill him, but it says, "David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." In that moment of trial, David remembered His promises and made a choice to praise! He told himself the truths of God and then, in turn, was encouraged and was able to celebrate the hard places.
Celebrate All the Moments
When the road you travel is filled with trials there are a LOT of moments that you will have the option to choose celebration or a slow creep into your demise. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Celebrating by rejoicing sets us above the trial, above disappointment, above the lie that these moments are pointless and without hope; above the lie that these moments can offer only sorrow and discouragement and not moments to celebrate.
Celebrate the Promises
Celebrate God's promises! When we are hit, without notice, like a ton of bricks, our mind and hearts are dizzy with confusion and we seem to forget the promises of God. The mountain seems bigger than the creator of the earth and His promises can fade from our heart as we turn our ears to the naysayers and the father of lies. Instead of looking to our circumstances, look to what God promises you in Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Be encouraged by His character and that he always keeps his promises.
Celebrate the Victories
If we look at the expanse of the war and its casualties, we will miss out on all the daily victories, the battles that have been won, and the places we have overcome. It is a daily choice to celebrate the victories and ultimately, know the truth presented in 1 John 5:4 that He has given us the ultimate victory. “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Celebrate that victory has already been won!
Celebrate the Beautiful Picture
Just like Christ’s torturous death on the cross created a beautiful picture of His love for us, our hard places will continue to create a beautiful picture of God's love for us. It will continue to weave narrative of the greatest story ever told. The story of His love for us. The story that says, "no matter where you are or what the circumstances, His love can bring beauty and healing.” His love can take the one at the lowest of lows, the one with no hope, the one that would never make it, and write a new story while creating a beautiful picture of His undying love. You see, Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yetno one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
When struggles enter our lives, it is as if we are looking at the back of a canvas and all we see is the diagonal and broken lines, the blotchy colors and it looks like a complete mess. Then suddenly, if we turn it around, our eyes will light up and we are surprised and exclaim: "What beautiful picture!"
A key component to celebrating in the moment, all the moments, the promises, the victories, the beautiful picture and ultimately, celebrating the hard places, is that you need to be prepared so that the celebration is already there, the promises are already in your heart. You need to prepare yourself before the hard place ever comes, before you see it coming. You must live a life of celebrating, a life of loving, and living life to its fullest before the opportunity for discouragement tries to knock at your front door, or creep through the back door, or sneak through the window.
Practicing celebrating hard places now will help you to be ready with a heart of celebration today and every day to come! As you venture into the hard places with vulnerable children, celebrating the hard places will turn that frown upside down! Your lowered gaze will turn up! You will look fear in the face and say: "Not today fear! Not today!" Your heart will stay steady and your joy will be full, and not only a child's life will be changed but yours will too!