Summary: The stress points in life are an invitation to climb into the arms of a loving God. There is no power on earth that can compete with resurrection power.
God Believes in Resurrection
April 3, 2005
When our kids were young, one of their favorite books was titled, “Alexander and the Terrrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” It seems as though Alexander had one of those days when nothing went right. It all started as soon as he woke up in the morning.
I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
The day didn’t get any better as troubles continued at school and during a visit to the dentist. At bedtime that night, he said:
There was lima beans for dinner and I hate limas. There was kissing on TV and I hate kissing. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas. When I went to be Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I can sympathize with Alexander when, at the end of the book he laments, “I think I’ll move to Australia” (“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” 1972. Hartford: Connecticut Printers)
We’ve all had days like that, haven’t we? We’ve all had days when the stress of living just gets to be too much. The problem that we have to figure out is how bad our problems really are and if they can be easily fixed or if they require some greater investment and intervention.
Things that are easily fixed need to be handled right away so that they don’t become bigger problems down the road.
There was this guy who was having constant headaches. He went to the doctor and was asked if he smoked. “Yes, I do.” The doctor told him to quit smoking. So the fellow did just that, but the headaches kept coming back. He returned to the doctor. This time the doctor asked him if he drank alcohol. “Yes, I do” he said. The doctor told him to quit…so he did, but the headaches continued.
He came back to the doctor to get some more tests. The doctor asked him if he worked in a job that demanded hard, physical labor. “Yes, I do” he said. The doctor said “quit.” So he did…but the headaches didn’t.
The doctor finally had a hunch. He told the man to take off his shirt. He got a tape measure and measured the man’s neck. It was sixteen inches. He then looked at the shirt and noticed that the collar was fifteen inches. No wonder he had headaches. Sometimes, easily solved problems need to be taken care of right away (“What Works When Life Doesn’t.” Stuart Briscoe. 1976. Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books).
Real life doesn’t always have quick, easily solved problems like that. Real life stresses can often go deep down to the very depths of our souls and threaten to undo us. The answers to stress in real life are not always easy. The answers are not always readily available. In life, fear is real.
Have you ever been really afraid? In the summer of 1989, I got my first boat. It was a sixteen foot, aluminum row boat with a 9 horse outboard motor on it, and a trolling motor for fishing. One Saturday, we loaded up the kids, who were 9, 6, and 4 at the time and headed out on Lake Shaffer for the day. Lake Shaffer is a dammed up river and so we went all the way down to the dam, about 4 miles from where we launched the boat. We pulled up on a beach to swim for awhile and I didn’t get the motor out of the water in time. The prop hit the sand and broke off the shear pin. That is a pin that connects the propeller to the drive shaft. Breaking it meant that the propeller wouldn’t turn.
I had that boat a couple of years before I moved on to a bigger one and I don’t remember how many times I broke off that shear pin, but this was the first. After this day, I always carried a couple of extra ones and some tools in the boat, but this day we were stuck.
So I put the trolling motor in the water and also started rowing. The sun was beginning to set and storm clouds were coming in. We could see lightening in the distance. We had to go four miles back to the boat ramp and I had no idea how long the trolling motor battery would last. I was really scared. I was envisioning the next day’s headlines… PASTOR AND FAMILY DIE IN LAKE SHAFFER LIGHTENING STRIKE. My stress levels were over the top. As it turned out, an older couple came by in their pontoon boat and towed us back to the boat ramp. I was a nervous wreck by the time we got back to the car and had the boat back on the trailer.