Thanking God For A Bad Day

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Everyone has had bad days, some worse than others.

Yesterday was one of those days for me – nothing beat a defeated post-5hour-interview Isabel who then missed her train and had to pay for another ticket. Honestly, the first time I have broke down for maybe a year?

But after a few phone calls and countless Whatsapp messages, my family and friends kept saying ‘Thank God. Give Him thanks for the experiences that you gained for the interview.’

You might think ‘Ah, another Christian quirk! A Christian thanks God for a bad day – doesn’t even make sense!’

But the thing is when you thank your Almighty Creator, you are acknowledging that through it all, He was with you and that He deliberately let you go through those circumstances to sharpen, season and polish you. When resentment and anger turns into joy and thankfulness, everything feels a lot lighter. Life feels lighter. Life feels happier. What I went through yesterday humbled me, gave me experience and made me even more determined.

I am comforted by Psalm 34, a song written by King David when his own son turned on him. Despite this pain, David chose to praise the Lord.

Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

The Seed

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The Parable of the Seed Growing

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

I went to church last Sunday, asking God for some sort of encouragement, something inspiring. And I left so grateful I had asked Him.

Jesus’ parable of the seed growing was a wonderful reminder to me that while I may not saw an obvious, immediate outward change towards the gospel, the heart is slowly changing. Jesus likens the planting of a gospel in someone’s heart to a seed on the ground. The man simply scatters the seed and lets God do the work. He carries on living even as the seed germinates, grows and bears fruit.

It is a reminder that it is not us who grows and nurtures the seed.

Let God do His work. We are simply to scatter the seed. Once we have shared the gospel, it is not our responsibility or burden to see that they accept this. The Holy Spirit convicts, so let go and let God.

No matter how much evidence you put before a person, no one and nothing will convince them accept Jesus.

It takes time and patience.

We know not when, but we must have faith and prayerfully ask that the seed in a friend’s heart will continue to grow. It may takes weeks, months, years, decades. But what is more important is that at the end, it bears fruit and grows into a tree rooted in the Lord and gospel.

Let us always be reminded that as Christians, our mission is to scatter the seed, and God’s mission is to watch over the seed.

How To Live Brighter ☼

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1. Start your day with God

This step seems so simple, yet I find this extremely powerful and sometimes easy to forget.

As you wake up every day, let your first thought be ‘Good morning, God’. Honestly, I find this difficult sometimes because when you wake up groggy, it’s difficult to immediately direct your thoughts to God. My first thoughts are normally ‘What lectures do I have today? What readings do I need to do?’ and my instinctive reaction is to reach for my phone and check for any messages and facebook updates.

Yet, when I learn (and am still learning) to still myself, I learn to wake up in the presence of God.

‘Father, thank you for this wonderful morning.’
‘Oh no Lord, it’s raining. Why is it so cold? :(‘
‘Jesus, thank you for another day. I dedicate this day to you and may I be reminded of Your presence throughout the day. Be with me as I do my work and go for lectures. Be with me as I face the day.’

2. Devotions

I tend to do my devotions at night, and I do this with a 365-day devotion book. Sometimes, it’s tiring to read one chapter of the bible a night, especially after a long day, and it may be difficult to relate the bible reading to what happened during the day. Therefore, I highly recommend you get a devotion book, with bible verses and messages specially selected for that day. And I cannot tell you how many times the scripture and message has spoken to me. There have been so many times that there have been ‘coincidental’ overlaps between the devotions and my struggles that specific day that I know it is no coincidence.

I started doing my devotions like this when I received one for christmas when I was thirteen. It slowly became routine and it feels weird when I don’t do devotions at night. If you have children, I strongly encourage you to buy them a devotion book.

This was my first book, and I loved it.

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(The One Year Book of Devotions for Girls by Tyndale House Publishers Staff 2000)

3. Start a ‘Thankfulness Journal’

As mentioned in my previous blog post, my friend got me a gratitude diary where I write down three things I am thankful for each day. I’ve used this for a week already and I am absolutely in love with this idea! It has made me more cheerful, and I have been thankful for the little and mundane things. Also, there many times that we ask God for certain things and when we do get blessed, we forget to thank God for it. This journal is a good way to remember God’s blessings.

4. Honouring the Sabbath

Truth be told, today is the first time I have taken Sunday off to dwell in His presence and rest in His peace. I had been encouraged by a few friends and after reading the article by Relevant magazine, I have decided to give it a go. It’s a good way to end or start (depending on which day you think a week starts on) the week, and I pray that I will learn to meditate on Him and reflect on all the things He has blessed me with during the week.

New School Year Updates

With another school year ahead of me, I have decided to set some new resolutions – which may or may not be followed through…

1. Theme of my second year: Anchor

Last year’s theme from God was ‘Everything And More’ because He had truly given me everything that I could ever imagine and EVEN MORE THAN THAT. The word ‘anchor’ had been in my head for awhile nearing the end of my first school year, and I felt that this word was appropriate for my second year.

Second year is a turbulent time. It’s when my grades actually count to my final degree. It’s the year when a part of my future is decided; when I start applications for vacation schemes; when I lean on God as my anchor in the storm. I pray that this year, He will continue to root me in His word and love, and that I will continue to stay firm in Him no matter what.

That is partly why I bought the anchor ring and have been wearing it almost everyday (I hope it doesn’t tarnish!!!)

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I might also be trying to keep the Sabbath holy in the sense that I might try not to do any work on Sundays, which is especially difficult because I’m not one to sit still if I have a long to-do list. Then again, I have to re-evaluate my reasons for not doing work on Sunday and must make sure that I focus on God that day, as opposed to using it as an excuse to laze around and idle.

2. Daily thanksgiving

My good friend bought me this book:

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So basically, I have to write three things that I am thankful for each day. Honestly, I think it might be a challenge because I do sometimes think I’m a bit like Eeyore, but we’ll see how it goes!

3. iClub

This year, I have the privilege of helping out in leading iClub, which is a church outreach event. It’s targeted at non-Christian international students and happens every week.

Please pray that God will give me discernment, wisdom, compassion and humility as I help out in these sessions. And hopefully, I might be able to blog about insights and revelations during those sessions.

Have a great week ahead everyone!