The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Best Day"
Yesterday's message referenced our friend Jim Kelly, who long ago lived at one of the retirement communities where we conduct services. I mentioned that Jim often responded to the question, "How are you doing?" with the response, "You know, I think this is the best day of my life!"
Jim bore this attitude of heart and mind because he was a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and because he truly believed that each day is the day God makes for His trusting children (Psalm 118:24). This raises the question, how can we follow Jim's example amid the often challenging and sometimes keenly painful realities of life? "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). How can each day be the best day when some days are so difficult?
First, Jim experienced demanding and painful days during the time we knew him. Confined to a wheelchair, our brother knew the pains everyone experiences who live as long as he did. He had been healthy into his mid 90s, when he lost the ability to walk. Moreover, Jim's long lifetime doubtless included the same trials and tribulations known by all who are part of a human race "born unto trouble" (Job 5:7). Each day being "the best day" was therefore no trite adage to Jim. He knew trouble as a companion day by day, as do we all. Some of his "best days" doubtless brought Jim heartache and even heartbreak, which he felt no less than anyone else who suffers. Jim nevertheless opened the eyes of his heart to behold realities of Christ that made each day a gift for which to be grateful, and a wonder to be witnessed.
Let us consider our own best days that may actually feel like worst days. What if on a day when the sun refuses to shine, we nevertheless open the eyes of our heart to behold the Light that "shineth in darkness?" (John 1:5). How much will we honor our Lord by seeing Him in the faith that looks into the blackest of nights to behold some distant star unnoticed against any other backdrop? Such a gaze of faith will surely transform a worst day into a best day.
What if a day of pain leads us to seek "the God of all comfort?" (II Corinthians 1:3). What if our Heavenly Father applies the balm of the Holy Spirit to our hearts whether or not His purposes allow Him to alleviate the hurts of our bodies? Or souls? How much more will we know His heart because we find Him to be enough and more than enough in the valley of distress? Such grace will surely make a best day from a worst day.
What if God administers or allows a day wherein bewilderment rather than understanding seems to be our portion? What if, as the saying goes, we must trust His heart when we cannot see His hand? How will the Lord meet us deep in our spirits when we echo the plaintive cry of the Psalmist: "Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, o Lord?!" (Psalm 130:1). Our present life of faith requires that "we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). Thus, some of our best days will find us with little understanding of how God is working, or what He is doing. They will feel like worst days. But as we trust the Lord, they will be best days.
Finally, if the Lord tarries until our departure from this planet by way of physical death, will we experience our earthly farewell as a worst day or a best day? Every believer knows the answer. "To depart and to be with Christ is far better" (Philippians 1:23). Indeed, if our Heavenly Father allows us to look back on our earthly lifetime, every believer will testify that the day we entered into the direct spiritual presence of the Lord Jesus was our best day indeed. "Far better" testified the Paul who had been caught up into the third Heaven where he beheld glories of God unlawful to utter because they would have been impossible to adequately describe (II Corinthians 12:2-4).
I am grateful for the ongoing legacy of Jim Kelly in my life, and doubtless in the lives of many others. God graces us with examples of faith and faithfulness as we journey through this present world. We do well to look, listen, and realize that that the same Christ who empowered brothers and sisters to influence us dwells within our trusting hearts. Thereby He enables us to serve as models who remind us that "this is day which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
Weekly Memory Verse
How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, o Lord! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings."