We often associate celebrations with joyous occasions like weddings, childbirths, graduations etc. Such events generate excitement and create a sense of achievement. With success having so many friends (Proverbs 14:20), well-wishers are innumerable.
Whilst it is important to be thankful and celebrate the joyous occasions, there are greater benefits when we celebrate the crosses that God makes us bear. Firstly, let’s get the term ‘celebrate’ in perspective. To celebrate means to make known publicly; to proclaim.
The crosses that God causes us to bear are meant to produce glory to God, an experience of God’s comfort in our lives and ultimately, a comfort that others can benefit from (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
How will men benefit from the pain we had to bear, the cross we had to carry, the comfort of God we received and the glory to God that it produced, if we do not celebrate it?
The natural inclination of man is to cover the situations that remind him of his mortality. Indeed as mortals, there are many situations in life that we are absolutely powerless about. There are problems that wealth cannot solve and situations that reduces a man’s position in society to nothing – take for instance, Naaman in the bible (2 Kings 5). In spite of his influence as the commander of the army of the King of Syria, he couldn’t command leprosy out of his life.
Yet, if our lives are to produce something of eternal value, then our crosses must be celebrated.
On Sunday 14th July 2013, I had an experience that touched my very core. I am one person who enjoys serenity in my car (it gives me the opportunity to think). Very unusual for me, the radio in my car was on and switched to Smooth FM 98.1. I was on my way to a church meeting and wasn’t really paying attention until Soni Irabor introduced his guest – Rtd. Air Vice Marshall Femi Gbadebo – a very eloquent man whose voice attracted me to listen to what he had to say.
As I listened on, I learnt about the cross God had given him and his wife to bear- a child born with severe cerebral palsy. He made no pretense about the struggles yet he celebrated the life of his son. He celebrated the cross God had given him to bear. You could tell that this was a man living above his challenge through the grace of Jesus Christ. His wife wasn’t interviewed (at least during the time I listened), but I could tell that this was a family that had received the comfort of God and by their lives and testimony brought glory to God Almighty.
Then it struck me, that many other families who were struggling over such an issue or less, would be eternally thankful for the Gbadebos and their courage. Often, as human beings all we need is a picture – if someone can paint a picture, then it is no longer an illusion – others can see it.
To know how the Gbadebo’s are celebrating their cross, visit www.benola.org
What picture are you painting for others? What comfort has your life produced that others can benefit from? What cross are you bearing and celebrating?
Life is more than the good times. It encompasses both the good and not so good. The next time you think about celebrating, pause and ask to whose good? HUMANITY or MAN? Man can only be entertained for a moment. We get bored easily so soon enough we are looking forward to the next party.
HUMANITY never forgets the celebration of our cross. I have never met Rtd. AVM Femi Gbadebo – never heard of him before the radio talk. Now, I can never forget him.
Do the Unusual – Celebrate your Cross! Humanity will be thankful, God will be glorified and you would have lived purposefully.