Beautifully Bad Days
That day was a beautiful day by many standards.
The sun shined in a bright blue, cloudless sky. The temperature was in the low 70s. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it,” the song lyrics go. How many times had I sung that song, clapping to the beat?
And that beautiful day was a day the Lord just like the ones He had made like every day since the Beginning.
But that day, I felt like anything but rejoicing and being glad.
On that day, I stood outside a courthouse after the hearing to finalize my divorce. The sunny skies and birds chirping betrayed the thunderous storms I had endured during the previous 18 months of my life leading up to that day. A gentle breeze blew against my tear-stained face as the judge’s words echoed in my head and a lump formed in my throat.
I find it easy to praise God for good days, when life’s storms are a distant memory or haven’t yet appeared on the horizon.
Praise and joy bubble up effortlessly from my lips when life goes well. Things go smoothly and fall into place effortlessly. People get along. I conquer a goal. I meet another milestone. Those are good days, and they are worth rejoicing for the goodness that God shows us.
But, on the days filled with heartache, hurt, and hard things? I find it so much harder to praise God. Instead I ask why?
When my marriage officially ended on that beautiful day, I choked out sobs not songs of rejoicing in God’s goodness.
I wanted to have an “attitude of gratitude” and a posture of praise while I remembered that God was using this bad day for my good, but honestly? Nothing about this day felt good, so it was really hard to see the good. I wanted to throw my hands up in exasperation not with a hallelujah.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
In reading Ecclesiastes, I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit about my attitude. Do I only praise God for the good days? Or do I even praise Him for the good days? Or do I try to take credit for those too?
I didn’t welcome that particular beautifully bad day or for that matter, any other bad day I’ve had over the years. But if I’m honest, I mean, really honest, those bad days have been some of God’s greatest gifts to me.
The bad days have showed be I am too weak to take on any struggle on my own so I could draw on His strength.
The bad days have showed me I need to draw closer to Him when the Lord felt so far.
The bad days have shined a light on the places I needed to surrender to the Lord.
The bad days have helped me to cling to the Lord as my Rock when my world crumbled.
The bad days have humbled me so I could call to Him for help.
And on that bad day, as I stood outside the courthouse, I realized that my desperate prayers for that tumultuous season to end had been answered by God on that beautiful sunny day. Since that gorgeous but heartbreaking day, I remember that God in his loving, gracious provision created those bad days to remind me that I need Him more than anything else. How much richer has my rejoicing felt because of those bad days? How much louder my praise and my clapping because of those bad days?
We may not like the bad days or sing a joyful praise for them. We may not understand why the bad days happen much less how God is using them, but we can trust in Him and His promises that hold true on the good days as well as the bad days.
God, the creator of all things, made ALL things good. And even though some days are not good, He makes those days and uses them for our good. And we can take comfort in that truth.