About four days after my no good, very bad day last week, I was getting ready in that unceremonious way mothers do: Sweeping hair back in a hasty ponytail, washing my face with a stale washcloth, brushing my teeth for less than the two-minute recommended time frame and, on this morning, pondering an addendum to my A No-Good, Very Bad Day…is OK a.k.a.”some days suck” post.
I was feeling what we evangelicals call “convicted.” For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s when God gently but firmly awakens your heart to something you should do differently. A loving, heaven-sent kick in the tushy, if you will, that is typically accompanied by the sudden recollection of an old hymn or scripture verse memorized when you were nine.
If being convicted of something sounds punitive, it’s not. We only think it is because we don’t like being wrong. We often resist the urge to do what God is encouraging us to do, because we think our way is better. Conviction is that tug of war between His will and ours. Conviction is actually fueled by grace. It’s a neon road sign on a dimly lit road that urges us to turn around and avoid driving across the broken bridge. It’s a second chance to do the right thing, the best thing.
Ugh, I thought. Let’s just leave it alone. Some days DO suck. And I can’t find my happy place, and that’s okay.
But I simply couldn’t shake the feeling…or the stale smell of that washcloth. (Note to self: Time to throw that bad boy in the laundry.)
I had missed something in my “some days suck” message, and it was bothering me.
I missed the part where praising God was still an option…a choice. And there were too many scriptures pointing to the need to rejoice in something, mainly the existence and faithfulness of a Holy God (which coincidentally, isn’t just something…it’s EVERYTHING).
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will exalt in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
And then this really kicked me in the tush…
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Arrggghhh!! It IS about being grateful. But not with an everything-is-perfect-kind-of-bubblegum-happiness that feels false.
Let’s be honest: This world can be such a brutal, terrifying, heartbreaking place. Bubblegum happiness sits as well in it as Leave it to Beaver reruns in a cancer unit.
Circumstances can leave us hollow and disappointed, lacking faith and desperate for answers. Job is the bible’s go-to example of human suffering (aside from the cross), and the man spent a lot of time questioning and searching and crying out. But he also said (made more candid in the New Living Translation):
God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him.
I offer this as a Part II of my no good, very bad day post…because bad days do come. Maybe not on the monolithic scale they did for Job (thank you, Jesus). But still, they can be very difficult.
My prayers might be desperate, my praise reluctant. My emotions what they are. But, God remains my only hope, and so I must argue my case with Him. I must go where I don’t wish to go…ask the hard questions…offer up whatever praise I can muster for the only salvation available to me. Because without God, I am truly lost and without hope.
Sometimes it takes days to get there. Or weeks or months. But I don’t think God is asking me to fake it. I think He is asking me to hold on…to HIM.
Read my A No-Good, Very Bad Day…Is Okay post for Part I of this message!
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