Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days
Having lived in another culture and experienced the frustration of not knowing “the rules” the following email story got my attention this week.
Used with permission from the ones who lived this minus their names, name of the country and language.
“ Then… we locked ourselves out. Apparently with the lock at our apartment if you leave the key on the inside, you cannot lock it – even if you have the key! It was Friday night and we had been to a swim park. We returned home late, wet and tired. I had the key, but it would not unlock the door. There is no other door, there are bars on the windows, and we’re on the 6th floor. We called the agent. She came over and couldn’t help. She called the landlord. He came over and couldn’t unlock it. The locksmith arrived about 11:00 P.M., took one look and said something in the national language that I took to mean: “There is nothing I can do, you’re stuck!” Nevertheless he tired hammering and grinding on the lock with no avail until after midnight. Our kids were unbelievably tired and cranky- we weren’t much better!”
“We decided to leave and sleep in the apartment we have stayed in when we first arrived in this city, but could not get the key to there either. We started looking for a hotel around 1:00 a.m. Tried five hotels and finally found one with a room with three beds that cost a kings ransom. The only thing we had to wear was our swimsuits, t-shirts and cover-ups. So the next morning we all troop down to breakfast in our swimsuits, t-shirts and cover ups….”
This story could be the sequel to Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. We smile. We grimace. We feel for these fellow travelers. We remember our hard times. Representative of those hard times in each of our stories is the reality infusing component that is supposed to build character and give depth; the times you would have rather NOT have but, in the end produce that “peaceable fruit of righteousness”in Hebrews. It reminds me of the sheer boot camp effort to get my Austrian driver’s license in German.
Some of you are wishing your hard times were only like these and not the ones you have had. Would that your hard times were simply as fixable as a malfunctioning lock.
In your story, you may have to carry certain injustices, tragedies and pain forever without explanation, reclamation, rectifying or fixing. You may have grown immensely from the hard times in your story and find that an impacting ministry flows from the pain, but the events may forever remain as un-lockable mysteries under the sovereign hand of God. Hard times are a part of our stories.
How is it possible that these are the very tools God will use to make us like Jesus? How is it possible that in reflecting on them God gives insight, “an unlocking key” to seeing Him in our stories more clearly?