Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
The Scripture above paints a bleak look at the world around us, and at us when we step outside God’s Will. The ‘evil doers’ in the story that follows may have just had a ‘bad day’ themselves.
The post for yesterday was about if ‘you’ are having a bad day, but the untold part of that post is that I had already written the post and scheduled it last Saturday. What happened that day turned my day into a ‘bad day’ or would have if I had let it.
Sunday night, I could not sleep. I tossed and turned until early morning. As a result, I over slept. I had just done my morning ablutions upstairs when my wife called on the cell phone from the first floor. We have a tiny house, but it is a two-story with a basement, so three floors.
My wife was panic stricken. A friend of ours had messaged her to say that my Facebook account was hacked. My wife wanted me to wiggle my nose and have the problem go away. She is far from tech-savvy. I told her that I would go to the basement and investigate. I can do much better on the computer than over the cell phone. Somehow, someone was cloning my account. One of my tech-savvy friends also messaged to say that he had already reported the evil cloned twin, but I should change my password. I posted on Facebook a warning about the hacking. (How many times will I change my Facebook password in one year?!!! Am I being targeted?)
My wife called again. Now, I am in the basement, and she is still on the ground floor. She calls on the phone, rather than yelling. “We have stuff to do today. We are going to be late!” I explained that I had not really started my day yet. Her reply was, “What have you been doing? You’ve been down there for over two hours!” I got short with her, and momentarily raised my voice to match hers. I had not been down at the computer for an hour yet, and I have been chasing the problem that she called me about earlier. You cannot just snap your fingers. I apologized for responding to her raised voice with one of my own, but told her we would leave ‘now’. Note to Everyone: Don’t use the excuse that the other one started it. When you are having a bad day, do what you can to defuse the situation. I raised my voice, but immediately caught myself. Of course, she had hung up by then.
So, without starting my day with three devotions and Bible reading, I was running errands. I had the post for the day scheduled, but there was nothing written for tomorrow (today, by the time you read it). Funny how God gives you a topic to write about. Okay, not so much. Maybe this one is courtesy of Satan.
First was a trip to the UPS Store. A week ago, my wife got a portable heart monitor, 2-3 weeks late due to the company scrambling the insurance numbers (a long story). With her A-Fib that was caused by inflammation after her surgery, the doctor wanted two weeks of data with her doing her normal activities. Since the A-Fib only acted up on occasion, and those occasions are getting less often (Praise the Lord!), the doctor wanted continuous monitoring. A one-minute EKG while resting in an examination room at the doctor office would prove nothing.
Only problem, the monitor / sensor system alarmed once each hour stating that one wire or multiple wires were loose. In the process of cleaning and checking, we used up half the electrodes. My wife could not get any sleep until we turned the monitor off. After several phone calls, each with the supplier stating we were doing things wrong, we finally got a new monitor / sensing system delivered last Saturday. We decided to not turn it on until Monday. That meant sending the defective system back in the packing that was provided.
In the Pittsburgh area, it has rained for three days. Getting to the UPS Store meant climbing some steep hills. On one of the hills, the anti-skid system kicked in. (Note to Self: You have delayed getting new tires long enough! Waiting for the automobile inspection in December is too late. Do it now.)
No problem returning the package. No problem at the oil change, other than I had countless coupons for ten dollars off, but in my haste to leave ‘now’, I left them at home. That part of the bad day was on me.
My wife was hungry. Neither of us had breakfast, and it was now lunch time. We went to a roast beef place on the way from the oil change to the church. First, the woman took our order, but she never took the order, really. It was raining hard, so we had gone through the drive through. When we got to the window, the woman tried to give us the order for the people behind us. Note: we were their second customer of the day. There was no time to get confused yet. I could read their order screen from the car. She had never punched the necessary buttons to get our order in the queue.
I calmly reordered our meal, smiling to mask my frustration. The woman got the size of my wife’s tea wrong. I repeated our order. She apologized for stating that I had ordered a medium. She would change it to a small. She then took my money, but when I got the change, she gave me the bills and receipt and dropped my coins on the ground. I was already wet from the rain coming in the open window, so I opened the car door and started picking up the coins from the ground. I made sure that I got them all. I never bothered counting it. She had short changed us by a nickel, when counting it later. In my mind, the accidental dropping of the change became on-purpose – her way of hiding improper change, but maybe she wasn’t that smart. It might have just been the Devil trying to get under my skin.
She then gave us our order, with my wife receiving a large tea. I had told the woman four or five times ‘small’. My wife explained that it was probably her trying to make up for getting everything wrong so far. Understand that my wife was talking from the backseat due to her restrictions after heart surgery (no frontal airbag). I checked the receipt. No, we paid for a large drink. It will take her three days to drink it. No, most will be poured into the sink.
Then my wife asked for a straw. There were no straws in the bag with the sandwiches. My wife told me to ask her for straws, but the woman had walked away from the window. My wife suggested honking the horn, so I did. I tried my best milky-sweet voice in asking for straws with a please, thank you, and smile.
Then, on the way to the church, we went down a big hill. The car in front of the string of cars was going on average 15 mph in a 35-40 mph zone for five miles. I was getting frustrated, but I figured it was either an old person or someone with worse tires than we have. (Hey! We have tread, just not enough. There are not bald yet.)
We got to the bottom of the hill and the bridge was out. (Remember, it has been raining in Pittsburgh for three days. Who knows what would be washed out in 40 days?) So, we turned around and went out of our way to get to the church.
By this time, my wife had finished her meal, but I had not started. I parked at the church, opened some sauce packets and poured them over the roast beef, and then an evil wind flipped the opened sandwich into the air, spreading the sauces all over the interior of the car and landing upside down on the center console.
I did not use God’s name in vain, but I said a dirty word.
Note to self: (Of course, the ‘evil’ drive through woman gave us only two napkins. Any other time, it would have been twenty or more.) The handkerchiefs in your pockets are loaded with sauce. Don’t blow your nose with them. AND go do a more thorough cleaning of the car’s interior before it gets sticky!
My wife said that Satan had been messing with me all day, and now he got what he was after, a word uttered in frustration. I thought of my afternoon post – Having a Bad Day?. I laughed. I deposited the eight pairs of used glasses in the box for that purpose at the church and then we had an uneventful trip home.
Why an uneventful trip home? Satan would love to throw his worst our way, but now I was ready for him.
If you are having a bad day, you must know that God is there to help you, but you must also acknowledge that you need help. I had started the day without going through my daily rhythm. Everything that we did yesterday could have been done later in the week. Why were we in a hurry? Usually, when I have a lot to do, I follow Martin Luther’s routine. I get up even earlier to spend more time in prayer. As it was, I tried to pray and drive while getting errands completed.
Last Note to Self: Don’t do that again. Regardless of what Satan throws your way, start you day in praise, prayer, and worship of God. Then when you are hit by computer hackers, wet roads with marginal tires, evil or simply incompetent drive through people, slow pokes in front on a narrow two lane road, roads that are closed (that don’t say closed until you go five miles down the road that has no other outlets), and then you end up wearing and sitting on lunch, … When all that happens, it is not a bad day at all, because you will know that God was there with you all the time.
When you have God in your heart, you can have bad circumstances. You can get frustrated. We can have unbelievable pain that lasts for days. But with God in your heart, can you really have a bad day? All of the bad days, all of the pain, all of the suffering works toward our being refined, becoming more like Jesus. Remember Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.