How was your day?
How often are we asked this question and how many times do we pose the same question to others? It’s often an inconsequential but, nonetheless, obligatory ice-breaker start to an awkward conversation. What customarily follows is the non-answer, “I’m fine. And you?”
When my husband is asked this question, he regularly pipes out, “I’m super-duper, totally awesome, fantastic, great, better than I deserve, and blessed beyond all measure!” Most people find themselves without a reply to his answer. The other day, however, he told the young man at the drive-through how he was doing. Then the fellow handed him the chocolate milkshake, immediately whereupon, the lid fell off and the entire shake dumped down into our car. While we were sopping the mess up, I braved asking him if he was still “blessed beyond measure.” He replied, under his breath, “Well, I’m blessed, but I’m not happy.” 😆
Once in awhile, we get more of a reply than we bargained for. Ten minutes later, we walk away knowing every sad detail. And sometimes massively depressed with what we found out!
I used to regularly query my kids after school. One or the other of them would commonly offer a one-word answer to my question of how was your day: “Bad!” So then, we’d talk.
Me: Oh, no! Really? I’m so sorry. What happened?
Child: So-n-So was mean to me.
Me: Wow! For the whole day??!
Child: No. At recess.
Me: But you said you had a bad day. Was it ALL bad?
Child: No. Just at recess.
Me: Oh, I see. Did spelling go ok? And science, and art, and lunch?
Child: Well, yeah.
Me: So, actually, you mean you had a pretty good day with a few bad minutes in it?
Child: Ummm, I guess so. (Tries to hide a grin. Doesn’t work.) 😉
That, folks, is human nature. Perspective often flees the scene. Why is it that one lousy interaction with someone or one small slip-up tends to cloud the entire event? Or even the entire day?
Life itself can follow the same pattern. Woe is me. Life’s not fair. “Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Guess I’ll eat some worms.” (Remember that old ditty? Haha!)
Well, guess what. Life isn’t fair. Just ask Jesus!
This life isn’t meant to be fair or easy. This life should create a yearning in our hearts for Heaven! The circumstances allowed into our lives should cause us to see our constant and increasing need for the Lord. Hard times reveal our character to us. (God already knows our character, but He allows trials to give us insight into ourselves.)
When my daddy was quite deep into his dementia journey, he would get disgusted when he couldn’t use his fork correctly, would get lost in the house, couldn’t remember names or find the words to express his thoughts. But I’ll never forget his prayer at dinner one night. He was stumbling through, and then, very clearly, came these words: “Lord, thank you for our difficulties, for they remind us how much we really need You.”
He got it. I mean, he really got it!!
I’m so thankful for that memory. It comes to mind at unexpected times, like when I break a glass or lose something important. Honestly, I used to ask the Lord why He’d allow something so frustrating to happen. The knowledge He could have prevented it occasionally flew through my mind with some mild annoyance. I know – shame on me. But since that prayer of daddy’s and after some further research into it, I’ve changed my attitude. When those situations arise now, I usually find myself speaking to the Lord, thanking Him for reminding me I live in an imperfect world that will increase my longing for Heaven.
But I’m not naive enough to forget those who live with constant, heavy, urgent difficulties. Sure, it’s easy for me to get over spilled milk (or milkshakes!). But what about Christian friends who are dealing with terminal illness, abuse, impoverishment, and other serious situations? What about those who cannot wipe up their problems?
Certainly, for some, life is unquestionably difficult.
But here’s the bigger question. Is life bad?
With assurance from God’s Word, we can answer with a resounding no. But are there bad times? A resounding yes.
According to Romans 8:28, “All things work together for GOOD to them that love God.” This verse does not say nothing bad ever happens. But it does assure us that God allows those times for a good purpose.
Notice also in I Thessalonians 5:18, we are to give thanks IN all things, and not FOR all things. Sometimes we are called on to deal with intense burdens. We may find it nearly impossible to thank the Lord for the burden, but we can thank Him that He carries it with us and intends to use it for a good purpose. We can gratefully acknowledge our need of Him. We can trust according to Jeremiah 29:11 He is working His good plan in our lives to bring us to an expected end. We can thank Him that our afflictions keep us from straying too far from His truth. (Psalm 119:67-68)
But, wow! It sure requires faith! A whole lot of Bible-based faith!
So, you see, life isn’t “BAD.” Oh, yes! It’s hard! Though “bad” things happen (actually, they don’t just “happen” – they’re allowed by God), life’s not bad when we live by faith in God’s design. I’m trying to erase that word “BAD” out of my vocabulary. I’m not quite there, as you can see above, but I’m working on it. Now, if you ask me how my day was, I might briefly tell you it was tough, but I’ll try not to say it was a bad day. Okay?
And, one final reminder . . . each day, easy or tough, brings us closer to that GREAT DAY when Jesus comes for those who are His children!