Having a bad day? Thankfully I am not, but I certainly know what it is like to suffer through one from time to time. A headache, the flu, or a stomach bug can ruin any day. Someone telling lies and spreading rumors about you or, worse yet, hearing that a friend is the one tearing you down can be upsetting. No day is made better by hearing bad news from a doctor. What about the parent teacher conference that begins with, “Your child talks too much and is disrupting other students?” Is you day made better or worse by such a meeting?
These are just a few random examples of events that can adversely affect one’s day. As you can probably see by these situations, the intensity of a bad day is somewhat relative and variable. For example, bad news from the doctor may be “your child has an ankle sprain and will have to miss at least a game and a week of practices”. This is not what we wanted to hear, but it is certainly not as bad as “your child has a torn ACL and will need surgery and will miss the entire football season”.
There is not much we can do about the chance happenings of life or what evil people do to us, but we do not have to let them ruin our happiness. The truth is, life is not always perfect or the way we want. What we need to do is understand that hurts and frustrations are just a part of breathing. They are nothing more than minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of existing. This is not to minimize what we go through on bad days, but a little perspective is good.
What is a bad day? Some might say it is any day when events cause us mental or physical pain for any reason. Is that a good definition of a bad day? I don’t think so. In just a few days the 2016 Summer Olympics will begin and many athletes will celebrate victory. For some it will be one of the greatest days of their lives. How do elite athletes get to the point of winning? Many of them endure years filled with days on end of mental and physical pain. It is called training and preparation. Most are not willing to pay this price for a moment of great joy.
Is it a bad day when one is called on to suffer for Christ in preparation for eternity? The apostles evidently did not think so. “…When they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:40-41) While I am sure they did not enjoy the beating, it is clear the apostles thought it was a great day. It was a day for rejoicing.
The apostle Paul had a lot of “bad days” if we say suffering for Christ is a bad day. “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness– besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28) Earlier in Second Corinthians Paul describes all that he had gone through as “light affliction”. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) He was looking for a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.
Paul did not think he was having a bad day when he had to suffer for Christ. In fact he says the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Like for the Olympian who endures much for victory, Paul believed eternal victory is worth any price we must pay.
No Christian should view himself or herself as having a bad day when called on to suffer for Christ. Peter said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13) Perhaps if we could face persecution with this mindset it would be easier to remain faithful.
Are you having a bad day? I hope things are going well in your life and this day is good. If you are going through some hard times, I pray they will soon end. Please never think you are having a bad day by serving Christ. Perhaps it would help to think of the “bad day” Jesus had to give you hope. I don’t think He looked at it as a bad day, but rather one of triumph and victory. It was the day He finished the Father’s Will. (Matthew 19:30)