I am on vacation this week visiting family in Charleston, SC. I asked my friend, Dick Kendrick, to guest post in my absence. I hope you enjoy his offering. See you next week
Several years ago my wife gave me a little plaque that reads “Everyday is a gift from God.” I kept it in my office at work and it was the first thing I saw when I walked in. Now it sits in the window above my desk in the Potting Shed. Many were the times when I’ve read those words and thought, “Yeah, everyday but this one.”
Not all days feel like a gift; some feel like the proverbial lump of coal.
My grandmother was a dedicated Presbyterian and an avid fisherman. She never missed being in church on Sunday unless she was away fishing. She raised six children, separated fresh milk with a hand cranked milk separator, canned vegetables from her garden, put up homemade jams and jellies, cooked three meals a day on a wood-fired stove, and weighed about a hundred pounds. She lived life by the philosophy that happiness was relative and had nothing to do with the circumstances in which she found herself. It came from within. A bad day was just a good day in disguise. She died in her rocking chair with her Bible open on her lap. I think she had figured out what made the difference between a bad day and a good day.
We all have them -- days that are difficult to recognize as “gifts from God.”
The challenge is to see what’s not so obvious, to learn to see our days as God intended them to be. The truth is not always evident.
Robert Hasting in his essay The Station makes this point. “The true joy of life is the trip. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It’s the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves that rob us of today.”
A bad day is just part of the journey on the way to the station. The truth is that even the worst day passes and we get a fresh one the next morning.
When you have been given a bad day, or a series of bad days, it sometimes helps to sort through the facts by listing them so you can see more clearly the truth. Here’s a pattern that might be of help:
- Define what it is that’s making it a “bad day.”
- Determine the source. (God will not be the source, I assure you.)
- Identify the various ways you can turn it into a “good day” and what that would take on your part.
- If you can effect change, even if it requires seeking assistance, do so. If it’s not changeable, don’t waste your energy beating a dead horse.
- Instead, look for the good, however small, and put your energy into that.
You see, it is actually true. “Every day is a gift from God.” It’s just that sometimes we need to hunt for that gift a little harder than at other times.
My grandmother used to say, “Don’t keep plowing the same furrow if it’s running crooked.” I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
If you know the story of Elijah the prophet you will remember how he watched his only source of water dwindle then dry up. That would probably qualify as a “bad day” for most of us. Streams In The Desert makes this point relating to Elijah’s situation: “Unbelief looks at God through circumstances….but faith puts God between itself and its circumstances.”
Every day is a gift from God, even the difficult ones.