Bad days - we've all had them. You know, the kind of day when you think things couldn't possibly get any worse... and then they do. The milk spills. The toast burns. The toilet overflows. The car dies. The doctor's report is worse than you imagined. The details may be different, but I'm willing to bet that the corresponding feelings they bring are strikingly similar.
The question is, what can we do about it? We can't prevent bad things from happening, at least not all of them. But is there a way to live through the bad without feeling overwhelmed by it? Could it be that there is good hiding amidst the bad, if only we had eyes to see it?
In her book Daily Splashes of Joy, Barbara Johnson writes about the concept of thankfulness being like a magnet to find God's mercies:
"Being thankful is like an analogy I once read that talks of being given a dish of sand and being told there were particles of iron in it. We could look for the iron by sifting our clumsy fingers through the sand, but we wouldn't find much. If we took a magnet, however, and pulled it through the sand, it would draw to itself the almost invisible iron particles. The unthankful heart, like the clumsy fingers, discovers no mercies, but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds iron, so will the thankful heart find heavenly blessings every time!"
Sometimes, when things seem to be going horribly wrong, it feels incredibly counter-intuitive to try to notice anything good. In fact, there are times when I'm not sure that in our own strength we are even capable of finding anything good. But what I love about Barbara Johnson's analogy is that the magnet is this tool we are given outside of ourselves, and the power is in the tool itself.
It's like we're being handed this powerful magnet and all we have to do is hold on and the magnet does the work. Our job is to take the magnet, hold it, and open our eyes. We might be saying, God, I can't see anything good here. But I'm going to take this magnet and trust that You can use it to draw out things that I could not otherwise see.
I am no expert when it comes to thankfulness or prayer, but I feel like half the battle (or more) is simply showing up and practicing. I might feel incredibly clumsy. I might not know quite what words to say. I might mess up and forget to be thankful or to pray for hours at a time. But thanks be to God, He does give us reminders. He gives us a magnet and gently calls us to put it to use.
If prayer itself is like that magnet, what a privilege it is that God would entrust us with something so powerful to hold and use. The power is all from Him - He is the One who can see all things and can bring beauty out of ashes. But I think He wants us to experience the wonder of seeing that magnet pull out the precious metals from within the sand. He wants us to be part of the process.
No matter what kind of day you may be having, look for the magnet. Ask God for the magnet. And then don't be afraid to use the magnet and see what good things it might draw out before your eyes.
Pray with me...
... Lord, move in our hearts and fill us with a renewed sense of gratitude
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
... Father, use each of us to be like magnets for one another, drawing each other to Your goodness
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:23-24
... Jesus, let ACSD be a place through which many people are drawn to You
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. John 12:32
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory