In the season of celebration.


When we’re in the “messy middle” of our lives, our vision is clouded. We can’t easily see what is taking shape before us, those things that God is bringing into focus. In the messy middle, we don’t know that the Lord of time and eternity is changing perspective.

He is turning your messy middle into your miraculous middle.

I first heard it phrased that way from a dear friend in the Unveiled community who was smack-dab in the messy middle of life. She was sharing her testimony of walking through the pain of loss and betrayal, and God had given her this beautiful glimpse of the messy being made miraculous.

We are standing on the brink of a celebration season.

Recently, I was hanging out at the chapel and those words came to mind. I vaguely sensed the Lord speaking to my heart. You are entering a season of celebration. I was so caught off guard by these words. Because in the messy middle, we forget to expect that the season of celebration is upon us.

My messy middle has been filled with joy and strength, beauty and truth, friendship and community, but it has been messy nonetheless. Starting new things is always a little messy.

So when I heard the Lord whisper, your season of celebration is upon you, I gave an honest response. Lord, I can’t even imagine it.

Let me pause here to say, I am not unhappy. I am so deeply fulfilled in this season with the presence and purpose and provision of God in my life. It sounds cliché but it is true. I am walking through one of the most glorious and challenging seasons of my life and yet I already know it is a season with Jesus that I will long, and always, treasure.

Yet in the midst of the grind of launching a new ministry and consulting business, I have grown somewhat accustomed to the rhythms of this season. Dwelling in the secret place. Hiding under the shadow of his wing. Abiding in his shelter. Resting in the cleft of the rock. Finding my way, my place and my peace, right here in the messy middle.

So – what do we do when it’s time for the season of celebration? When the messy middle is becoming the miraculous middle. The winds are blowing and we can feel the seasons changing. What now?

On that day in the chapel, I found myself stepping into the story of Scripture. I was at the wedding at Cana and Jesus was about to turn water into wine. Jesus was about to make the messy – the shame of having run out of wine with nothing but water left to offer – into the miraculous.

I found myself in the midst of this water-made-wine moment. As I dove into this Scripture in John 2, drinking deeply of its life-altering words, I was struck by a couple of things.

Number one is the fact that Jesus was invited to the wedding. And secondly, that Jesus was clearly the most important guest. If he hadn’t been invited (and come!), the celebration would have stopped. On a day designated for celebration, there would have been sorrow, humiliation and pain.

But when Jesus says it’s time to celebrate, nothing can stop it.

He will go to great lengths to make sure the celebration continues! He will even turn water into wine.

Jesus is always moved by his passion for us. And Jesus loves celebration. He created it. He commands us to do it. So what do we do in the season of celebration?

We look to Jesus.

When I stare into the water with Jesus, I get to see what is true. I am beholding the glory of God. And my Bible tells me that what I behold, I become. We are being transformed into his likeness.

And we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of God are being transformed into his likeness from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:18)

It is the season of celebration.

It’s time to turn water into wine. It’s time to step into the realm of impossibilities – to take what looks like the end, the place where all you see is water jugs, and make it a glorious beginning.

We peer into the eyes of Jesus. And we do what we see our Father doing.

Our Daddy – the winemaker.

Our Daddy turns deserts into pools.
Our Daddy makes a way in the wilderness.
Our Daddy creates.

He is always creating something out of nothing.

What are those places in your life where you feel like you’re just staring at water, when what you need is wine? Where the stakes are high, and like the family at the wedding at Cana, if Jesus doesn’t show up all will be lost.

Peer into the eyes of Jesus. Find him.

He is at work in the servant’s quarters. He is with the water jugs. He is doing his Father’s business in the unseen places and hidden spaces. He’s about to bring out the wine. He is about to kick off a season of celebration that cannot be quenched.

Your season of celebration is upon you. Jesus is doing a great work of everlasting joy.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

You know, for us looking at this wedding story it’s easy to miss the gravity of the situation. In a day and culture where hospitality and marriage celebrations held such deep communal significance, this wedding day was on the verge of feeling like a funeral day had Jesus not stepped in.

And isn’t it interesting that Jesus chose to mark his first recorded miracle as one that would allow joy to abound?

He is the joy-giver. He is joy. That is his nature. Where Jesus is, joy abounds. (Psalm 16:11)

So Jesus was invited.
And he came.
And he brought a Joy that would never end.

He gave himself.

There is no joy that any human being, any material thing, any man-made institution, can bring you that will satisfy your soul. Jesus himself is the only joy that satisfies.

His is a life of celebration. His is a joy that never ends.

In this season I have learned (and continue learning) that my joy is not dependent upon what is happening around me but what is happening within me. Joy himself has made his dwelling within me. He has been invited to come in. And he never turns down an invitation to come and to dine with us.

If we call on him, he is faithful to answer. And so, the Lord’s joy becomes our strength. (Neh. 8:10)

In the season of plenty, and in that of want, my response shall be the same. I peer into the eyes of Jesus with a simple prayer of invitation overflowing in my heart.

Lord Jesus, may we never cease to invite you into our life’s gathering places. You are welcome here. Come and make water into wine within us.

If you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your life or into your circumstances with his life changing, life giving joy and peace, please don’t wait. He is the most important guest to invite to the table of your heart. He will change everything and you will never be the same.
Come, Lord Jesus.

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