Always Encourage and Celebrate
Good day to everyone. My fall schedule change has thrown me off of my writing routine. I hope to get back on my regular schedule soon. For those that do not know, I was present at a mass shooting at a local amusement park over the weekend. At no time was I in any danger, but as a manager I gathered my team and several guests into a building for safety. I tried to keep everyone calm and provided my phone to allow others to call family members and let them know that they were safe. We sat in the dark until midnight when the police came and escorted us out of the park. As I said I was not in any danger, but I did not know it! I am still processing these events and reliving the night repeatedly in my mind. I also think about “what ifs”. I believe that the Holy Spirit surrounded me and the people with me to keep us safe and give us peace.
Have you experienced a traumatic incident where you were not in control? How did the Holy Spirit show up? In some cases, these incidents lead to us losing a loved one. How do we process this? How do we see God working in this experience?
“You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So, you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19–20)
“As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love.” (Ephesians 4: 1, 2)
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5: 1–2)
My councilor has told me to replace the “what if’s” with gratitude and joy that we were protected by God and were “lucky” to be where we were at the time. I need to focus on the positive things that happened to me, my team, and the guests around us rather than the worst-case scenario. I have not thought about celebrating what happened until today. Paul modeled appreciation, celebration, and gratitude as he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1: 3-4.
“We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1: 3, 4)
It occurs to me that this power of gratitude goes way beyond just acknowledging good works in times of joy, but using this God given power to demonstrate gratitude in times of grief and pain. What positive things happened? What good can come from this tragedy?
Can you think of a time when you used gratitude in times of pain? How many of you attend Celebration of Life services in your church? We celebrate and show gratitude to those that have left us. We should use the tool of gratitude every day to allow us to feel the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and the lives of others. We can use it in times of joy, AND in times of chaos.
Please share your thoughts here and practice gratitude daily!
PS. The 3 people who were shot will all recover.