May 9, 2021
How to Handle Life’s Bad Days
days happen. They happen to everyone. So we need to be
prepared to handle those days when everything seems to go wrong.
know what I mean. We’ve all been there. You slept late. You’re in a hurry to
get to work on time. But you cut yourself while hurrying to shave — and it
takes forever to stop the bleeding.
you gulp down a piece of toast and you are walking out the door when your phone
rings. It’s you mother-in-law. You don’t want to talk to her but you know you
must. Distracted, you walk to the car and realize you left the keys on the
counter. You get Mama Dearest off the phone without insulting her and rush back
to the car. It won’t start. The battery is dead. Jumper cables to the rescue.
As you finally get the car started, you notice grease on your shirtsleeve.
guy with the blue light stops you for speeding. Gives you a lecture and a
ticket. You are an hour late to work. Exasperated, you say to the first person
who will listen, “I should have stayed in bed!”
days happen to preachers. You come across a great story that you build your
sermon around. You tell the story exceptionally well. But after church some
wise guy says something that ruins your day. Example: One Sunday I designed my
sermon around my own experience of baptizing a tall man who slipped out of my
grasp when I put him under the water. By the time I raised him up, he was
spewing water out of his mouth and gasping for air. Five minutes after the
benediction, wise guy walks up and says, “I liked your story about the baptism;
I heard Robert Schuller tell that story on the Hour of Power.” My story! My
experience! But Schuller gets credit for it — and it never happened to him! Bad
heard about a country preacher who retold quite eloquently the biblical story
of creation — with a homespun twist to it. God, he said, made Adam out of mud
and then leaned him up against a rail fence to dry. But with a wry smile, an
old farmer ruined the preacher’s day with his question: “Preacher, if Adam was
the first man, who built that rail fence?” Red-faced, the preacher replied
icily, “It’s questions like that that ruin religion!”
have two suggestions about how to handle life’s bad days. First, no matter what
happens, never surrender to pessimism. Clint Eastwood introduced us to Toby
Keith’s song, “Don’t let the old man in.” That’s the way to combat pessimism —
don’t let it in. When old man Pessimism comes knocking, tell him to keep
walking. Light up the “No Vacancy” sign outside your mind.
never give up on optimism. Refuse to become anxious. Be positive no matter how
bad the day. When my dog Buddy dumps a load on the floor in the Great Room, I
don’t shout “Glory,” but I do say, “Lord, I thank you that Buddy did not drop
two loads on the floor.” If I spill milk on the floor, I don’t despair. I thank
God the floor is cleaner now where the milk was spilled. If you fall and break
a hip, thank God you did not break both hips. Stay optimistic because nobody
enjoys being around a sulking, pessimistic person.
role model for optimism is the football coach who remained optimistic even
though his team kept losing every game by one or two points. He refused to
complain and remained positive. Asked how he kept his spirit up, he said, “Let
me tell you the kind of guy I am. If I fall in a mud puddle, I get up and feel
in my pockets for fish.”
bad days, and good days, that’s a winning attitude in the game of life.
Pessimism is a loser. Optimism is a winner. All day long. Somebody heat up the
grease. I’m ready to fry some fish. And tomorrow is bound to be a better day!
lest you get the impression this is merely the philosophy of a country
preacher, I must remind you that Jesus was the ultimate optimist — and he
warned against pessimism. At the end of chapter six of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus
urged the disciples not to be “anxious about tomorrow.” I like the way Eugene
Peterson renders verse 6:34 – “Give your entire attention to what God is
doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen
tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the
the good news about bad days. Trust Christ when bad days happen because He is
ready to help you — especially on the days when everything goes wrong! + + +