It’s Thursday at 2:38 p.m. The kids will be home from school in 14 minutes. You haven’t even made it through the first 3 items on your to-do list for the day because returning Christmas gifts and mailing the package and cleaning the spilled juice from under the refrigerator and folding laundry got interrupted by a call from your vet with X-ray results and a struggling friend you’re trying to help but she resents it and a neighbor you invited to church who posted about recent mass shootings: “Our world hasn’t forgotten about God, he’s forgotten about us. Why believe in a God who allows such evil?”
Just another normal Thursday afternoon. You tell yourself you can handle it. But you know that’s only half true. Honestly, you’re a bit worn down.
You’d like a normal week for once. Please?
What does that mean, anyway? “Normal.” Does it mean an easy life? Or that you can control things more successfully and make it all go as you’ve planned? Does it mean the good ol’ days—when you were 18 or 29 or 45?
Jesus tells us what normal is. A world full of trouble (John 16:33) until perfection in heaven. So if you start out the day thinking, “I can’t wait for this to be a normal day where everything goes my way,” you are setting yourself up for a bad day.
And it’s not God’s fault. Yet—listen closely now—you also should not just lower your expectations. Like, “It’s gonna be a bad day. Again. I’ll just put on a smile and pretend it’s okay.”
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5).
You can have a great day even in a world filled with trouble. Even during a week filled with trouble. How? By doing two things.
First, repent. Get real with God in some quiet time of reflection, faith, Bible reading and prayer. “God, I’m sorry. I’ve sinned against others and against you. I’ve replaced you as the Lord of my life with idols that attract me too often. I’ve hurt others because of my pride and selfishness. I’ve blamed and complained. Have mercy and forgive me in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Second, rejoice! God’s forgiveness is real. “Get up, my child. Lift up your head. Look at me. I forgive you more than you’ll ever know. Trust me. I have chosen you to be loved and holy and equipped with goodness by my Spirit. Go! Be good. Be my favorite child. Be the best version of who you I say you are.”
Did you just appreciate hearing those words? Would you agree that you need to hear those words more often? And that they usually don’t come from your own self-talk, which tends to accuse and shame instead of build you up?
This is why Sunday worship makes a difference on Thursday. In worship we all repent, week after week in a regular interval. In worship we all rejoice, week after week in a regular interval. It defines our “normal.”
Regular, weekly worship at your church transforms you and defines your week. So if you want a normal week, then be sure to show up in church. God does.
PRAYER: God, I just want a normal week. Direct my heart to see how worship defines my week. Move me to repent and rejoice in worship regularly. And define my normal by your ways, not this world’s ways. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: If you want an example of a believer having a bad day but that day not being ruined, but reframed by worship, read all eleven verses of Psalm 42 here.