When Bad Things Happen
I don’t know about you, but I can be a glass-half-empty kind of gal. Vince says I’m a pessimist. I can whine and complain when things go wrong or are challenging. I can even gripe when everything is great! I like a calm, smooth, comfortable life. We haven’t had comfortable, however, for quite a while as life is currently one long transition season. In addition, we have had some bad things happen lately that cause me to reflect.
Several weeks ago, Vince and I were surprised when our door alarm went off around 8:30 pm at night. We had moved into our fixer-upper home and were watching a movie in our bedroom. Assuming the wind must have somehow blown the door open, Vince and I went to investigate. You can imagine our shock when we discovered a man standing in our living room. He was equally surprised when he realized we were living in our home during renovations. After fumbling his way through some explanations, he hopped on his bike and rode away. A police report was made and life continued as before.
Last week, our 12 year old dog (Ginger) was attacked by a much larger dog while taking care of her daily business in my mother-in-law’s front yard. The dog chomped down on Ginger and shook her violently. Myra tried desperately to break his vicious grip, to no avail. The dog’s owner was finally able to fight his dog off poor Ginger but she was in pretty bad shape. Myra and the other dog’s owner rushed Ginger to the animal hospital and she underwent surgery. Ginger also had stitches on her back and sides from the bite.
It is clear that both of these incidents would be considered bad things. And yet, I can also see God’s faithfulness. In the first incident, the man didn’t try to harm us or take anything. In addition, Vince and I have become more aware of potential dangers and are more diligent in regards to home safety. We aren’t scared. We are simply aware and mindful. I pray through our home and over our family and friends on a daily basis. I have Bible verses written all over our concrete floor, with Psalm 91 below each window and in front of each door. As I reflect, I can see God’s protection that night and answered prayer. Although this was a bad experience, it could have been so much worse. We are grateful.
In regards to the attack on Ginger, there is also much to be grateful for. Myra was not physically harmed in the attack, as she easily could have been. Ginger wasn’t killed. The dog’s owner stepped up, rushed Myra and Ginger to the vet, and paid for all of the bills. Ginger didn’t have damage to her internal organs or her spinal cord. She also hasn’t had any infection. Today, Ginger is recovering well and is, for the most part, her happy-go-lucky normal self. I think both Myra and Ginger have some PTSD from it all, but they are safe and well.
While neither situation was good, God was very good. Because I was willing to set my half-empty glass aside and intentionally reflect on these experiences, I was able to clearly see God’s care and faithfulness. While my natural tendency is to whine and complain, God can help me see the good if I acknowledge this weakness in myself and ask for His help.
In the Bible, David is a great example of praising God in hard times. The Psalms are filled with his praises. He didn’t pretend that all was well as he was fighting for his life. He wasn’t afraid to vent and to share his struggles with God. At the same time, he continually turned from discouragement to praise as he proclaimed God’s goodness and power.
David’s example is such a wonderful encouragement to me, a glass-half-empty kind of gal. If he could praise God in his trials, how can I sit and complain? Although life isn’t comfortable right now as we live in a home under renovation, as we await the sale of our Colorado home, and as we are uncertain of God’s plans for the future, there is still so much to be grateful for. When I am intentional and ask God to show me His hands at work and all of the good things in our current situation, I am overwhelmed by His greatness and His care. Things can feel quite challenging at times, and yet, God is fully in control and using all of this for our good. He is worthy of praise.
Perhaps you are a bit like me. I hope that each of us can focus on the great things God is doing in our lives today and in our current situations, no matter where we find ourselves.