Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day Four: Celebration Evaluation

"It's very difficult to take a people who won't celebrate and teach them to. But you can take a people who love to celebrate and give them a greater reason."
--Jean Larroux, as told to Cathleen Falsani

I woke up this morning with one of those splitting sinus headaches that makes you beg for mercy and coffee, and not necessarily in that order. It's gloomy her in New England--one of those unproductively gray days where it doesn't rain, it just prevents any sunshine from getting through. When the world threatens me with a funky day (and by "funky" I mean problematic and annoying, rather than unique and eclectic), I find Kool and the Gang uniquely helpful. They're among the best at replacing bad funk with good funk, and getting me in the celebratory spirit. I want to be one of those people who loves to celebrate, even before I have a tangible reason.

Speaking of celebrations, today we finish the story of Ruth. I think God is pretty awesome for getting to the happily ever after part in just four quick chapters (as opposed to, for example, Job, who suffers for 41 and-a-half chapters before God turns things around for him). It's almost like God knows that we (or maybe it's just me?) have neither the stamina nor the patience to wade through too much sadness before the encouraging part comes along. I need regular reminders that, as my friend Dave points out, God can change anything at anytime. He's got a good track record; I should trust him.

There are times when I lose hold of this encouragement. I'll read some skeptic's claim that Ruth's story isn't true, that it's really just a metaphor for some theological premise I don't understand; or a rant by an angry Bible thumper claiming that Ruth seduced Boaz and so maybe he wasn't such a great guy after all--and I deflate like a popped balloon. When I first read Ruth, here's what I saw: a story of how God brought a man and a woman together and exceeded both of their expectations. They didn't go through months or years of anguish and doubt and wondering where the relationship was going, God brought them together and took them someplace, and even blessed Naomi in the process.

This was what I wanted, so this was what I prayed for. And to fend off the gray clouds trying to block out my sunshine, I had little celebrations in my head that this day was coming for me, too.

In one of the "prophetic" books in the Bible (where God tells his people what's to come in the future), there's a beautiful promise where God describes how he'll bind up our broken hearts and make us beautiful, happy, and full of praise--in other words, ready to celebrate. Later, when Jesus showed up on the scene, he quoted this promise, saying, "I'm that guy--the one my father sent to do this stuff!" Then he did a bunch of miracles right along these lines (not to mention healing the sick, raising the dead, and turning gallons of Aquafina into some nice Merlot). He didn't just make big promises, he delivered. Maybe it's just me, but I think a miracle or two would be a fabulous way to start a party.

What if today is the day to get our party started?

15 comments:

Traci Anne said...

My celebration actually started yesterday! I work for a family-owned company, and the sons are always, ALWAYS rude and grumpy. Yesterday, however, both of them were super-friendly and even joked around a bit! This is such a 180 from their usual personalities that it can only be chalked up to a small miracle :)

Liza said...

I'm celebrating because I get to spend the weekend with my sister and her family. Her husband got all of us tickets to the Braves game for Mother's Day(funny thing is I'm the only big baseball fan). I thought it was really cool that they included me in the gift.

Sarakastic said...

I hate it when the sun isn't out but it isn't snowing or raining either. My mom always says, the sun is still there you just can't see it. bring on the celebrating.

The Ex said...

What if today IS the day? And we just...didn't choose to see the small miracles? What if we missed it?

That would SUCK.

Lisa said...

I really need a Ruth-style intervention from God. I feel like my growth and change is more like the slow eternity of Job. Not that there hasn't been some quick bits now and then. My struggle is to stick with asking for blessing when the prospects look bleak. 40 Days of Faith has usually been a bleak experience in the past. But for some reason I wanted to give it another go this time. I look forward to reading the daily blog, thanks Trish!

Breeza said...

I was reading my devotions last night and one actually talked about how God is in the small miracles, everyday. That sometimes we miss Him while waiting for the big miracles we're waiting for. That we just have to look closer. Pretty cool actually!

the teacher said...

today is the last day of school. usually, i am sad; however, this has just been a VERY tough year and i am glad to see it come to an end. i am worn out and feel kinda funky myself.

it really caught my attention when trish wrote asking what if today was the party. i guess i go about thinking that the day i have been praying for would be completely different than a day like today. i have to remember that i have no idea what God has in store for me the rest of the day. it makes me want to put on my happy face and gives me a little bit of encouragement. otherwise, i am not giving God enough credit for how wonderful and powerful he is. i wish a wonderful day for everybody also!

Aimee said...

Another uplifting post. Thank you Trish! Since I only work M- Thursday this was my Friday and that is always reason to celebrate even if my allergies are driving me nuts and I have a paper due tomorrow, I remember when I longed for the flexible work schedule I now have and I am thankful for that.

Larramie said...

Rather than having just today as a celebration, how about every day? Seriously, don't you all think that each day is full of small miracles?

Suzanne said...

My small miracle today is that I'm actually online right now. I came home this afternoon and for some reason my usual network connection was missing, apparently this afternoon we had a power failure that somehow made it disappear. I prayed to God that I would be able to fix the problem so that I could get online to read today's post. Well, I still haven't been able to find my usual network, but I was able to slip in on another network floating somewhere nearby. I hope that's God's provision, at least I'm here, and I'm grateful....now I'd like to hope for a bigger miracle, to finally fix whatever is wrong with my own network connection...come home ET!

Jmnyc said...

Thanks for another great post! The story of Ruth was a much needed reminder for me that God does have a plan for us. I know I have a hard time believing this when everything seems to be going wrong.

heiress said...

I agree I think miracles are always a great way to start a party! Trish, I love the line when you state, "God can change anything at anytime." That is something that I will hold onto and keep close to my heart during this time.

blessedsubstance said...

I like your analogy about the celebration. What if I treated my life as a gigantic celebration? Wouldn't that be marvalous? What an awesome gift to God to celebrate his gift of life for life. I am glad that seed has been planted in my mind. I hope it brings about a miracle, transformation, and rebirth. I am thinking about the lyrics of the song "Celebration." Even though I don't have the breakthrough that I am going to receive from God, I am going to celebrate its coming during the 40 days. Why not? Faith without works is dead. So why not celebrate to breathe life into the faith that I have for God's blessings! I feel like celebrating! Thanks Trish!

killerbee said...

It's impossible to have a bad day when Kool & The Gang is in heavy rotation in my head! Keeping in mind that 'God can change anything at anytime' gets me excited with anticipation! I am enjoying the 40 Days of Faith and don't even miss the online shopping habit that I gave up!

ForstRose said...

I'm a few days behind on these posts but Wednesday morning I got a call from one of the agencies I am registered with for an assignment that started today (Thursday) for about a week. It's not the "final" answer for my situation but it is God's provision for the short term while other things are still in process. Then tonight (also Thurs) I had promised a friend to be at an event where she was scheduled at a Barnes and Noble in our city so I got there in time for her turn and afterward she was introducing me to one of the other authors there and telling him about my editing and reviewing (the reviewing doesn't pay moola but its fun anyway) so he might be having his publisher send me a copy of his book and said he'd keep me in mind for editing a wip when it gets to that point. We'll see but either way she's very good at networking and I wouldn't have many of the opportunities that are coming up if it weren't for her talking me up to people she "runs" into.

So despite other things that were not so great about today including the headache that hit full force on Fri there is as you said always something to celebrate. We just have to look for the little blessings while we are waiting for the "big" ones.

Melissa