TERRE HAUTE —
Remember that children’s book by Judith Viorst titled “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day?” The story recounts how, through no fault of his own, things were not going well for poor Alexander.
Boy, can I relate. Last week was a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad week for me. It was only God’s hand sustaining me that got me through it. Discovering the illegal and immoral actions of someone I loved was devastating. Taking the punishment for what someone else did was frightening. Watching helplessly as my car was fatally injured and hauled away, never to be drivable again was blatantly unfair.
What’s a Christian to do when bad things happen? Well, I don’t know what works for you, but I know what works for me. I remind myself of things I already know, but tend to forget during the dark times.
First, I remember the words of Jesus in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble.” Boy, Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said that, was He? So, if I am a Bible-believing Christian (which I am), troubles should not surprise me. First John 4:4: “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.”
Secondly, I remember that I should not put my trust in people, for people will disappoint me every time. People try to do the right thing. People try to be dependable. Some people even do a great job of being good most of the time. But, in the end, the only One we can count on is the One who said, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you. So we boldly say: The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do to me,” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Thirdly, I remember we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). I’m a sinner. So are you. We all do things that disappoint people, things that make ourselves and others pay the consequences for our actions. That’s what mercy and forgiveness is all about. Jesus told us in Mark 11:25-26 that God will forgive us our sins based on how much we forgive others.
Laughter helps, too (even though it never completely erases the pain.) I’ve been known to look in the mirror during times of crisis and say, “Listen up. There will be no further crises this week; your schedule is too full.” I try to laugh so much that my location can be tracked through the sound of my laughter. I give promise to myself that just because things are going wrong doesn’t mean I have to go with them.
Remember this: Laughter may be hazardous to your depression. The pain doesn’t go away, but it becomes more bearable. (Maybe that’s what Mary Poppins meant about that spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down.) After all, like it says in Proverbs 22, laughter is good, like a medicine. I agree wholeheartedly.
But I’m still really glad that my terrible, horrible, no-good very bad week is over!
Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.