Boy, am I glad it's a new week.
As I turn the page to a new week in my planner, I'm awfully glad to leave last week behind and to look with hope at the unsullied week ahead.
I'm really glad for some hope, because last week was hard around here. More than once I found myself agreeing with Alexander, "This is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day." Remember that book by Judith Viorst?
Maybe you've had days like that, too.
In the middle of those days, I realized something about myself. If you've read the book, you may remember that Alexander himself is telling the story, and the whole thing begins with this sentence:
"I went to sleep with gum in my mouth. . .
And now there's gum in my hair."
Everything goes downhill after that, but it all started with the dadgum gum.
Which, in my mind, always provoked the question: Why on earth did he go to sleep with gum in his mouth?
Or the admonition: Never go to sleep with gum in your mouth.
Or worse, the accusation: You idiot! You know better than to go to sleep with gum in your mouth!
Somehow, as I surveyed the bad situations of last week, I always landed on the accusation.
You idiot! Why did you do that? Why didn't you do this?? You know better!
The problem with the accusation is that there's some truth in it. Alexander should have known better than to go to sleep with gum in his mouth. I should have known better than to do some of the things I did last week.
But knowing better doesn't always stop us from making mistakes, does it?
I'm thinking there's another way to interpret that first line of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, one that my soul desperately needs: confession.
I need to sit here honestly and say, "Look, I did some things I shouldn't have done. I messed up, and now we're all paying the price for that."
If I can press pause right there, if I can honestly admit to God and to other people that I did indeed screw up, I can stop the downward spiral.
No, I can't squirm out of the consequences of my mistakes and my sins. It may be that I'll have some terrible, horrible days. But I don't have to go all the way down to "no good."
My very favorite thing about God is that He can take any circumstance—even the terrible mistakes I make—and bring some good of it. The official term for that process is redemption, but I'm not sure that word is adequate. "Redemption" is what I do with coupons at the grocery store. It's what my mom used to do with S & H green stamps.
But the redemption God offers us is not at all mundane; it's miraculous.
I think we forget sometimes that God is quite capable of miracle. It's easy to measure God's abilities through our own feeble means, to hope only for forgiveness, because that sounds so hard to us. We want God simply to disregard our mistakes; we wish only that circumstances could be as if we had never sinned. But God can do better than that.
I made a mess of things last week. To be honest, I'm not even sure how to go about correcting my mistakes. But God doesn't have that problem. He can see the beginning from the end. He can see what contributed to my mistakes. He can see into my heart and the hearts of everyone affected by my sins.
And He can look at all that with eyes of eternal love, through which He can see what needs to be done.
My vision is distorted. I look at myself through eyes of condemnation and reproach. But that's not the way God sees me. Condemnation and reproach are the furthest things from His mind.
I can offer God the truth about myself, terrible as it may be. I can admit my deepest failings.
And then I can ask God to do what no one else can do. God can take even the worst of circumstances and use them to write a different story. He can bring about something new and beautiful from the mess, not despite the mess.
Only God can do that.
With God, there will be days when I screw up royally. There will be terrible, horrible, very bad days.
But there will never have to be days that are no good.
"God is light; in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). Redemption is His jam. In His hands, we are safe.
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