Summary: Difficult times (horrible days) are often God’s way of making you what He longs for you to be. Don’t pull the plug before the work is done.
Difficult times (horrible days) are often God’s way of making you what He longs for you to be. Don’t pull the plug before the work is done.
In her children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst captures one young man’s really bad day. Alexander starts the day with gum in his hair, a sorry prize in his cereal (while his brother gets the great prize), a bad seat in the car pool, a rejection by his friends, a pitiful lunch in his bag, a trip to the dentist and lima beans for supper.
Besides his conclusion, “I think I’ll move to Australia,” Alexander punctuates every new trauma with the line: “It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Ever have a day like that? A week…? A lifetime…? One of the variations of Murphy’s Law says: “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong and usually return. If the bottom falls out, you can rest assured that the sides will tumble down on top of you too.”
Listen to this illustration I came across:
How you can tell when it’s going to be a rotten day:
*You wake up face down on the pavement.
*You call suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
*You see a “60 Minutes” news team waiting in your office.
*You birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
*You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
*Your twin forgets your birthday.
*Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
*Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
*The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
*You wake up and your braces are locked together.
*You call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
*Your income tax check bounces.
*You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
*Your wife says, “Good morning, Bill”, and your name is George.
I must share one more illustration with you:
Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problem began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, & she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said “hello” when “sssopp!” Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, & opened the bag. There was Chippie—still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do. she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well,” she replied, “Chippie doesn’t sin much anymore—he just sits and stares.”
It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over…That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
In The eye of the Storm by Maax Lucado
In both of those illustrations it sounds like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Ever had a day like that?
“Horrible Days” take on a myriad of shapes: A friend that is fickle…or having no friend at all. A boy/girlfriend that walks out or never walks in. A job that’s going nowhere, or a job that never materializes. A business that is failing. Your finances crumbling because of circumstances beyond your control. An illness that won’t go away, a diagnosis that scares you to death. An unexpected trip to the cemetery to leave the remains of someone you never expected to have to live without. This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to say: “Why, God?” or “Why are you always picking on me?” This is the stuff of horrible days.
Well, what do you do with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days? Where do they fit in an eternal scheme of things? That’s exactly the question James is answering to his bewildered flock scattered to the four winds across an Asian/European continent, a flock that had been having not only a bad day, but a bad decade. They had been hated for being Jews, not they are hated for being so-called Christians. They had been ostracized from their culture, their shops had been boycotted, their families harassed in the marketplace and at school. To this bunch, their ex-pastor writes a letter [to the dispersed] calling himself “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This book is likely a “memo” sent to his scattered flock after word came back to him concerning the problems they were facing—the horrible lives they were apparently experiencing, and the resulting questions about how all this fit in to God’s scheme of things. Pastor James is going to tell them (and us) where to file these things called “trials”.