March 10, 2017
“Hear me, O God, when I cry; listen to my prayer. You are the One I will call when pushed to the edge, when my heart is faint.” Psalm 61:1-2a (VOICE)
She was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My strong-willed preschooler had been a mess since sunrise. She’d been crotchety and bossy, melancholy and foul. She’d snapped at her brothers and screamed at her sisters. She’d dismantled the bookshelf, excavated the houseplant and shredded my patience.
And when she’d finally run wailing to her room in frustration, I wanted to cry too. Or at least collapse on the coach and hold a personal pity party.
But instead of echoing her wails, I took a deep breath and followed the sound to the bottom bunk where my grumpy girl was hiding under her fuzzy purple blanket.
Lord, please show me how to turn this day around, I prayed as I eased myself onto the edge of my daughter’s bed.
“What’s wrong today?” I asked. The frustration in my voice seeped through my raspy whisper.
My disgruntled damsel peeked out from under her blankets and cast me a steely stare. I swallowed the fighting words forming on my tongue and waited in silence instead.
Eventually, five slender fingers reached for mine. I unclenched my fist and offered my preschooler a familiar hand, and with a hiccup and a moan she finally answered my question.
“I’m lonely for Daddy,” she confessed.
My heart softened at my daughter’s honest words, and for the first time all day, I recognized myself in those fiery blue eyes.
Like my daughter, sometimes I, too, find myself stuck in the middle of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Or week. Or season. Whether I’m suffering the consequences of my own crabby disposition or reeling from situations out of my control, I understand the ache when life unravels.
I know what it’s like to stumble through the hours empty and irritated, cynical and sour, to sabotage my own joy or fret over my unexpected misfortune.
And on the days I’m at my worst, I yearn for the One who knows me best. In 4-year-old lingo, that’s when I’m most lonely for my Heavenly Father.
Maybe you know the feeling?
King David certainly did. While this acclaimed man of God enjoyed times of ease and celebration, he also came face to face with his fair share of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. However, when life unraveled, David acknowledged his longing for the One who holds all things together. (Colossians 1:17)
Perhaps that’s how we excavate the unexpected gift tucked into the folds of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. If we pay attention to the childlike cry of our own hearts, our most frayed and frazzled moments can serve as a launching pad to propel us toward our faithful and unfaltering Father.
“We could call Daddy right now,” I said to my little girl as we sat on the bottom bunk that discouraging day long ago.
I dialed my husband’s number at work, and we waited until the drone of the ring tone gave way to the familiar hum of his voice.
“Hi, Daddy,” my lonely little lady murmured. “I need you …” My daughter cradled the phone and listened to the sound of her father’s voice. Slowly her pouty pink lips curled upward.
I tiptoed out of the bedroom and headed to the kitchen where I found dirty dishes, a wilted houseplant and an emptied bookshelf.
But before I picked up the shattered pieces of my unraveled day, I picked up my Bible and sat in the middle of the mess. And with an honest cry, this mama called out to her Daddy in Heaven. Because I didn’t want to miss the gift of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Dear God, thank You for being my best hope in good times and in bad. Give me a heart that longs for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.” (TLB)
>1 Chronicles 28:9, “Know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him …” (NASB)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Determine today what you’ll do next time you feel “lonely” for your Heavenly Father.
Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (NIV). Find this verse in your Bible, write it on a notecard and post it where you’ll see it the next time your day unravels.
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