Thursday, June 6, 2013

When You Have a Bad Day

by Andrew Cromwell

A bad day is when things in your life are turned upside down and you don’t know if you are going to be able to make it to tomorrow. On bad days we lose our job or a loved one dies. On bad days everything else in life stops because you get the worst news of your life. Everyone has bad days, and if you are fortunate to not have had one, chances are pretty good you will have one before too long.

Bad days happen for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they happen because you made a decision that had negative consequences. Sometimes they are caused by other people making a terrible choice. Sometimes there’s no one to point the finger at when things happen with seemingly no rhyme or reason, it’s just because we live in a fallen world that is broken and full of sin and darkness. And sometimes bad days happen because we have an enemy—Scripture says that he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour—who is looking for an opportunity to wreak havoc in our lives.

How do you respond when you have a bad day? Some people fall apart. Some people scream. Some people go deep and hide. But there are some people who seem to be able to walk through those difficult days and come out on the other side better. Instead of being destroyed, they are strengthened.

How do we become like these people? I believe the Bible gives us some wonderful keys for how to make it through a bad day. You can see these in the story of David found in 1 Samuel 30. That chapter recounts a day when David lost just about everything that was valuable to him in life—his family, his possessions and his home.

The first thing that David did, and that we need to do when a bad day happens in our life, is that he cried. Go ahead and cry! Don’t skip this step because you’re trying to be strong. Let the tears flow, but remember to turn your tears into a prayer. Scripture says that Jesus Himself “offered up prayer and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him.” We would do well to follow Jesus’ example.

After we cry, or even while we are still crying, it is important that we don’t miss step two in this process. Step two is: don’t get bitter. How many times have you seen people move from mourning to blaming in the space of a single breath? There is something in all of our hearts that wants to point the finger of blame at someone and say “you did it!” Sometimes that someone is a fellow human and sometimes that someone is God Himself. Either way, when we allow ourselves to play the blame game we become bitter and resentful. 

When you are bitter, it changes your whole outlook on life. You become jaded and sarcastic. You can’t enjoy life and you certainly can’t enjoy anything about the person you are bitter against (this is pretty rough when the person you are bitter against is God Himself!). I have heard it said, “bitterness is a poison you drink, hoping the other person will die.” 

The antidote to bitterness is forgiveness. It’s the only cure I know. It’s the only cure that works. Forgiveness may not change the situation, but it sure will change you and your heart. It will free you from the chains that you have wrapped around your heart and you just might be able to move on from that point of pain and step into the next phase of your life.

Next time we will look at the three other steps to dealing with a bad day: encourage yourself in God, get a word from God and fight back. Until then, make a decision not to let the worst day of your life become your end, instead make it an opportunity for a new beginning.

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