Yesterday was one of those days where I wish I had stayed in bed. It started off by me missing my bus for work because it arrived 5 minutes before it was scheduled to and I had to stand and wait another 25 minutes for the next one which isn’t easy for me due to having two plastic knees. Then when I got to work my table which is set up for me on the weekend, wasn’t set up properly and it crashed down on those knees. In the process my favourite coffee mug was destroyed and coffee splashed on my laptop leaving it with two vertical lines down the middle of the screen. I have a warranty for it but it doesn’t cover accidents. On the way home the bus was so jammed packed with students that I was lucky to get off at my stop alive. I had to push my way to the front door and in the process lost my best reading glasses. These were just the major things. There were so many other minor things that happened that just made that day a real joy. lol
We have all had those type of days. Ones we would just like to forget. It seems on certain days one thing after another can go wrong and just when we think it’s over "boom" something else goes wrong. It is how we handle those days that makes a difference. We can let them get us down or we can turn around and say "Praise God anyway!" It’s our attitude that makes or breaks us when things don’t go well. There have been times when my attitude wasn’t what it should have been and a bad day would throw me into depression and I would complain to God and ask, "Why me?"
Well why not me or you for that matter? The truth is that days like that build character if you let them. Just because you are a child of God doesn’t make you exempt from life’s problems and it’s bad days. As a matter of fact you may experience more bad days than good after you have become a follower of Christ. But the closer you get to Him, the less those days will have an effect on you.
Days like this are nothing compared to what many believers go through in many other parts of the world. They face death, torture, imprisonment and persecution daily because of their faith. It’s not something that we face often here in the West. These believers face the things they go through with joy and in China the church is growing in leaps and bounds simply because people see how these new believers face their problems. We don’t face this type of intense persecution here…..yet, but it is coming. When it does come how will you face it? If you can’t cope with a bad day now and then now, how will you cope when your very life or livelihood is threatened because of your belief in Christ? Will you face it with fear or will you face it with worship and trust.
The apostle Paul and Silas faced a rough day in Acts chapter 16. Luke tells us what happened:
One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”
This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.
Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Now right about here many of us would start complaining and fretting, but not Paul and Silas
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.
What?!? Here they are in jail and in chains and they were having a worship service! Jails back then were not comfortable places like we have now with a bed and plumbing. They were basically dungeons.
Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
In worshipping and trusting in God despite their circumstances they provided an opportunity for God to work on their behalf and because of this many were saved. This is going on in many places in the world right now and is the reason why new believers are being added to the body daily.
The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”
But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”
When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town. Acts 16:16-40 (NLT)
Paul and Silas after all they had been through didn’t complain about their day, they found the time to encourage others. Why can’t we learn? With some of us It seems even a hangnail can determine whether we have a good day or not. We need to change and when things go wrong stop looking down and saying; "Woe is me!" and start looking up and saying; "Great is the Lord and He is greatly to be praised!" There is nothing that gives a better perspective on things than seeing and recognizing just how big God is and how miniscule are our problems really are compared to all Jesus went through in suffering for us. In recognizing and worshipping Christ through your problems and difficulties you will begin to see how much easier it is to win a soul who has been watching you go through some tough things with your eyes fixed heavenward. You’ll also notice that those problems were not so big as you first thought.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Cor 4:16-18 (NLT)
There is nothing in this world that can weigh us down when we have our eyes fixed on where we are headed. All things will pass away. When our eyes are on the things of this world we will despair but when they are fixed on Jesus we are lifted above all this world can throw at us.
I had a good day yesterday. In spite of all the things that went wrong, I chose to worship and praise my Lord. So when I said in the first paragraph that it was a real joy I meant it. We learn from our problems and should always let them push us closer to Jesus.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)