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No good, very bad days

Pastoral Messages | September 19, 2017

As a child, one of my absolute favorite books was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” As you might guess from the title, the book details a (very bad) day in the life of a red-haired, teen-aged boy named Alexander. From the moment he wakes up and discovers gum in his hair, it’s clear this day is no good.

From there, things seem to get progressively worse. Among other things, he stubs his toe when he trips over his skateboard in his room. He has to go to the dentist and learns he has a cavity. Alexander’s best friend Paul decides someone else is his best friend. Worse yet, when he gets home that evening, he discovers his mom has made lima beans for dinner—and Alexander hates lima beans.

At the end of this long, frustratingly awful day, Alexander goes to bed as his mom tells him, “Some days are like that.” And with that, the book ends.

As a child, I remember wondering what happened to Alexander the next day. Hoping, for his sake, it was better. Did he wake up without gum in his hair and his toe feeling less sore? Did his tooth stop hurting or maybe he got to eat pizza instead of beans for dinner that evening? We’ll never know.

Like Alexander, all of us most certainly have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. They are unavoidable at any age. Maybe it’s a flat tire instead of a visit to the dentist. Or more substantial grief in place of not having the most delicious dinner. But we’re all bound to have not-so-good days.

When I crawl into bed after such a dreadful day, my closing, sleepy thought is to think about what the next day will bring. Mostly, I remind myself of the promises made to us in the Old Testament book of Lamentations: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”

For me, there’s something about the sun coming up on a new day. The promise of a new start no matter how unpleasant the day before was. The interesting thing about our faith is that nowhere in the bible does God ever promise us we won’t have bad days. Terrible, horrible ones even. “Some days are like that,” God might say, sighing right along with us.

But throughout the bible, God promises us a new start. The gift of grace that tells us we can always begin again. Every morning, the chance to see God’s goodness in our lives. Some days are no good and very bad. But maybe not tomorrow. God’s mercies are new every morning.

Katy Warren, associate pastor

10 Comments on “No good, very bad days”

  • Jana Baltimore

    September 24, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Lovely message and reminder that everyday is a fresh start, a new beginning…as “God’s mercies are new every morning”

  • Diana Holland

    September 21, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    One more home run.
    Thank you for sharing right on the mark comments.

  • Ronda Bird

    September 21, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Hi Katy! I like the image of God sighing right along with us when we have “one of those days.” (By the way, I used to do reading/writing lessons with this book. It’s favorite of children and adults alike!) Thank you for the reflection.

  • Jordan D

    September 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    This is just what I needed for these past few days. Thank you for the reminder to have faith that tomorrow will be better!

  • Carrie C.

    September 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Its been a very frustrating, bad day at work for me today. I happened to open my email and read your message. It is just what I needed to read! Thank you, Katy!

  • Don Garrison

    September 21, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    There are those days. I have added Orphan Anne”s theme song to memory ever since first seeing the musical. ” The sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that it will. Just wait and see”. Sally and I thank God every day for his continued presence in our life.

  • Heidi Watkins

    September 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Some days are like that, even in Australia. 😉
    Thanks for the reminder, Katy, that each new day brings with it “the chance to see God’s goodness in our lives.”

  • Vida Luth

    September 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    You are so correct. The very best thing is when I go to the YMCA to swim between 5:30 and 6:00 (a.m.) I see the majesty of God renewing the day as the sun comes up over the treetops. It is magnificent every day, and everyday I thank God for giving me a new day.

  • Kyle B

    September 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks, Katy. As always this is a very good message and it was much needed today.

  • Lucia Moore

    September 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks, Katy……I too have been a big fan of Alexendar and as I recall, didn’t he have a red, green and white strip zebra/horse that he blamed everything on when he was a little boy? I read this to my boys, grands and the kids I tutored at Ericson in Moline and Madison. We do all have some really horrible, bad days but sure enough, as God is with us, the next day proves that God loves us even if the check-out person does not.

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Isaiah 53:4-12

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

10No evil will befall you,

Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways.

12They will bear you up in their hands,

That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

15“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

16“With a long life I will satisfy him

And let him see My salvation.”

Hebrews 5:1-10

The Perfect High Priest

1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,

“YOU ARE MY SON,

TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”;

6just as He says also in another passage,

“YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER

ACCORDING TOTHE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.”

7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”37They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.40“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.42Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.43“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.45“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight