Friday, October 12, 2001

The Very, Very, Very, Very Worst and BEST Day of All

I’ve had some bad days. You’ve had some bad days. Everyone has had bad days.

When my oldest child was a toddler we thought it would be nice to get his picture sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap at the local department store. He took one look at the 7-foot creature, hairy arms and long ears and wanted no part of whatever it was. We coaxed, bribed, begged to no avail. Being cruel parents we even put him on the monster’s lap for a moment to snap a quick picture. It is not a hallmark photo. That was a very bad day for the child. He’s scarred for life.

We think about that child’s bad day and think, “Get a grip. That was not a bad day.”

Another child came home crying. A couple friends had called her a name. She was rejected and dejected. The hurt was deep as the girls who were supposed to be her friends, became turncoats, proving once again that an odd number of children reveals man’s sinful nature. I asked her what name they had called her. She told me. I asked her to repeat it. She did. I asked her several more times. Each time she enunciated the same syllables. I had trouble keeping a straight face. It wasn’t a name at all. Unless it was in another language. From another planet. In another universe. They’d made it up. But it was a very bad day for the child.

We think about that child’s bad day and think, “Get a grip. That was not a bad day.”

Folks all around us are having much worse days. Losing loved ones, losing jobs, losing health, losing independence. Struggling to survive. I listen to peoples’ problems, hear their hurt, watch their tears. There are a lot of bad days out there. Some much deeper than others, but all painful. Sometimes tragedies help us realize that what we’re going through is not as bad as it seemed. I’ve seen reports that divorces, violent crime and pornography sales are down since September 11. Helped us see what was important… at least for a while.

Where is the hope? Do we all just throw in the towel? Where is the hope? Do we live in fear that the next day may be worse? Where is the hope? Is there some perspective to help us live boldly?

Bad is a comparative word. You’re having a bad day? Compared to what? To a child afraid of a big rabbit? To a child called a mythical name? To a family who lost their dad, husband, son, primary income, and stability?

Here is the hope: There is a day in the future that will make the very worst day we ever have pale. That day will make our nastiest experience seem like a big gentle rabbit. We don’t know when it will arrive, but it will knock on every door. I’m talking about THE day. Here it is…

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment," Hebrews 9:27 (NIV)

Yep, I’m talking about THAT day when each of us will breathe our last breath and leave the physical body we’ve moved around in. We will come face to face with God and be judged. That day will make our worst day fade away. Why? For one of two reasons.

If you are living in relationship with God through Jesus Christ, having turned your back on sin and striving to be obedient, you will experience an ecstasy the Bible can’t begin to describe. All those bad days will be gone forever and you will enjoy a life of eternal bliss.

But if you are living for yourself, not in relationship with God but insisting on your own way, you will experience a pain the Bible can’t begin to describe. All those bad days will seem like nothing compared to the pain that is described as eternal burning. That never pauses. That is never soothed. That never ends. (And you thought that last sunburn was bad!)

So, what are you going to do with that? The day is coming. You might avoid taxes, but death is going to get you. God wants that day to be the best day for you. He did not create you for hell, He created you for heaven. He wants you to accept His forgiveness and allow Jesus to pay for your sins. Will you let Him?

Turn from your sins and toward God, ask for forgiveness, and begin to obey. Then there will be no reason to fear and every reason to live with joy.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7-9 (NIV)

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