It seems like every day we are bombarded by bad news. Stocks go down, antibiotic resistant bacteria surfaces, tornadoes rip through a small town, a factory shuts down or a business closes its doors and wars or discord seem to be multiplying everywhere in the world.
We can be tempted to think things are worse than they have ever been, but if we are history lovers (I am!) we can easily point to other times and eras when people living in those days would have said something like that as well.
In the midst of it all, God keeps calling out to us to return to Him, to look to Him and trust in Him.
That is often not so easy when it is our stock that has fallen, our family member is the one ill, our house has been destroyed, or our son or husband have been called to active military duty.
These sorts of things can leave us at our worst. Our faith can falter. Our trust may teeter and our mood can become sour or our face downcast.
It is no laughing matter. Ask Job.
When difficult things happen to us, the state of the foundation of our life will likely determine how well we weather the challenge.
The things we practice daily in ordinary moments will automatically kick in when the world turns us upside down.
What we practice is what we will become.
Because we are finite and very fallible, we will often not meet the hard times in our life operating as well as we would wish. Sadly, we will then start berating ourselves for not doing better.
When I look at some of the heroes of the faith in the Bible, more than a few of them could identify with that.
Jonah lapsed into believing he knew better than God what should happen to the people of Nineveh. He fled from the Lord, took a ship, and discovered the cost of disobedience was being dumped in the sea. He was clearly at his worst, but God sent a fish to swallow him into less than ideal accommodations. He called on the Lord and the fish vomited him up.
Now he was totally prepared to preach up a storm and call down fire on their heads because of the evil in their midst, but he was unprepared to accept God’s decision to forgive them when they repented. When the king repented and called his people to do so, Jonah went off in a pout under a plant.
You know the story. When God chooses to spare Nineveh, Jonah is angry. Here is the man of God acting out at every turn. He is missing what the Lord wants him to see. It is clearly not Jonah’s best day.
Peter likely experienced that as well when he had insisted to the Lord that he would never deny him despite what the Lord had told him would happen. The morning in the courtyard while Jesus was being beaten, questioned, and mocked, Peter had one of his worst days. He denied the Lord in front of a charcoal fire before the rooster crowed three times just as the Lord had said He would do.
Those few disciples gathered around the cross on that Friday of the crucifixion agonized over what they witnessed. Jesus had told them what would happen, but they could not comprehend He meant this was how it would all end. It was the worst of all days. He was dying. They faced an uncertain future and watched helplessly as His ordeal played out.
Saul was the Pharisee of Pharisees and could not believe in this new sect who believed in the man who had been crucified. What crazy stories they were telling about how he had risen from the dead! What blasphemy! He was determined to bring punishment on the heads and bodies of them all. He was blind and unaware he was blind. He was at his worst.
Then on the road to Damascus he lost his eyesight so he could finally see the truth about himself, the new sect, and this Jesus who had been crucified, but now lived.
Over and over again things happen that are not only bad news, but also leave us at our worst.
Here is the key!
When we are at our worst, God is at His best.
He meets us with grace and mercy, pours oil on our wounds, takes us in His arms and wraps us in His love.
You see nothing about being at our worst surprises Him. NOTHING.
He has always known we would have those times and that life would be turned upside down by any number of things that would happen. He planned for that. He provided for that. He simply loves us that much.
Bad news will continue to come and we may be at our worst, but He has a plan for that.
So do not lose heart, on your worst day, God will be at His best.