Friday, July 26, 2013

In The Face Of A Bad Day, I Rejoice

How was your day yesterday? Rough? I've been there too. Sometimes it leaves you wondering where God was in it. Where are all those benefits we are suppose to have as the children of God?

I guess these questions are similar to those asked by the world: "If God is so loving, why do bad things happen?" Why are there earth quakes, tornadoes, floods, wars? The short and simple answer is that we have done this to ourselves. Bad things exist because the heart of man is self-centered and evil (that which is contrary to God). But what about God's children? Are we not suppose to be blessed?

Well, we are blessed but it is also good to note the words of Jesus here. He was speaking about one of the key foundations to understanding God's love but it gives us a greater picture of how God sees things:

But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. (Matthew 5:44-46)

Sometimes the rain is not such a blessing. Sometimes believers and non-believers stand in the same storms, face the same disasters, walk through the same valleys. The difference is, our God protects us and strengthens us as we go through it. When we have a bad day we need to praise our God because we have no idea how bad it could have been. We seem to be missing this in our understanding these days but it was not lost on the psalmists:

You, Lord, are my shepherd.
    I will never be in need.
    You let me rest in fields
    of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
    and you refresh my life. (Psalm 23:1-3)

This as true today as during David's time. When we allow the Shepherd to lead us we receive good things and are in a place of peace and rest; no worries, fears or anxieties. That is where we are suppose to be in Jesus so that we learn to trust. It is in that place of trust that we are able to praise him on the bad days:

You are true to your name,
    and you lead me
    along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
    but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me,
    and your shepherd’s rod
    makes me feel safe. (vv. 3-4)

David certainly had his share of bad days but he saw them as mere shadows and there is no substance to shadows. No matter the storms, whatever fear they are trying to provoke in you, they are mere shadows, no substance.

If only we could capture the vision of this psalm, the peace, the trust, the righteous paths, then we would be able to accept God as our protector, especially on the bad days. Especially when things look dark. Especially when we don't have a clue which way to turn. It is not faith when we doubt God's promise to use everything for our benefit. It is not faith when we fear losing stuff and don't recognize his protection. It is not faith when we stare at the shadows and ignore the peaceful waters. It's only faith when we ignore the fears and rejoice in the peace. 

In the midst of the bad days, Jesus is there to encourage, strengthen, and defend us. In the midst of the storm he tells us to "trust". So, sing, dance, rejoice, be glad because God is good all the time and all the time God is good. No day is a bad day when you keep the promises of Jesus alive and well in your heart and mind.

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