Imagine with me: You’ve just had the most amazing, first-hand encounter with God. It seemed like spectacular showing off from the creator. It reached into dreams you had long set aside, and even though you doubted if He even cared about your suffering, you are now assured that He heard your cries. There is no denying what you have seen. Your full trust is placed in this God who has shown up in your need as your rescuer. Standing on the precipice of freedom, victory has been won. You will soon leave your old life behind. There is no way you will ever go back there again.
This storyline of freedom plays out over and over again in the lives of people who follow the God of the Bible; it is considered a “Mega theme” that points out the ways that God operates and interacts with humanity. Have you had this kind of moment?
Some might call it a mountaintop experience. A moment after which you cannot deny that God is alive and that he is working in the middle of our daily lives. Who could keep from celebrating? We rejoice when it is so evident that God has revealed his power and love on behalf of actual people!
Take a moment sometime soon to page through the book of Exodus. I have often imagined the people and places living out what feels like a vivid screenplay. Recently though, I have left the theatrics behind and pondered how I am just like them. What was it like to walk in the shoes of those God set free?
People who have been set free remember and they celebrate:
“This day is to be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it throughout your
generations…” Exodus 12:14a
Before leaving Egypt, while still in the land of enslavement, God told his people to celebrate. Paradoxically, the party starts with remembering the pain and the struggle. Remembering how they had cried out to God and how God intervened as their rescuer. We can only celebrate freedom when we know what we are free from. The Passover celebration became a way to yearly point back in time at God’s faithful care, rescuing power, and mighty love. But it also points forward to Jesus, the true Passover lamb, who died to rescue us when we didn’t even realize we needed it and rose again conquering all that has ever enslaved us.
I find it hard to remember, or even recognize the places God is at work in my life unless I take the time to notice. Processing the journey with other people helps. Journaling the things I am learning helps cement them into my consciousness.
When I am set free from the need to control my life, the fear of people’s opinions, or the desire for comfort in unhealthy ways, it is valuable to find a way to remember. Even if it was only a small moment, it is encouraging to look back later at the string of tiny things I didn’t realize were individual footprints across the bottom of an impossible sea.
Celebrate anytime you know God is at work, whether it shows up as conviction, freedom, or simply how God orchestrates life to show that He is watchful and caring. The people of God don’t celebrate only once they cross seas miraculously and arrive at the final destination. Celebration is called for, even in the unfinished pieces of our stories.
In my life, this looks like sharing life with our home community and rejoicing even with places of our hearts still pleading for need and work. It looks like crying over baptisms. Pointing out celebrations at birthdays in thanks for what God has done over the last year. Gathering people, sharing good food, and pointing to the one who has provided so much more than we ever realized we needed.
Every single step toward freedom is worth celebrating, no matter how small it may seem.