Beyond Grey Days

Greyday

As I’ve often said, I personally like grey days… but many do not and
I fully understand.

There are so many hurting people and I and most of us who work in
daily ministry meet a lot of them as part of the call God has on our
lives.

This is one reason why it’s a little easier for me to understand and
write blues lyrics and music. Some of it comes from my past of course,
but only on occasion from my present life- but a great deal of sad
inspiration comes from hearing and being a part of other’s rough
sailing.

As we have personal and/or shared experiences with the dark sides in
life, whether our own or other’s sins and the grief they bring our
way, whether only a matter of being in “the wrong place at the wrong
time” or with hurting people who hurt us… grey days happen.

Our mental, emotional, even physical needs are not always met. Or at
times it sure seems like there are huge holes inside of us. We carry
the cares rather than figure ways of “casting” our “cares on Him, for
He cares for us”.

Indeed, God and the churches often get bad-rapped because of grey days.

Does God not either create or allow the weather such as it is? Does
God not either seemingly put into place or at least allow horrific
people to ply their evil trades, people such as dictators, or mere
Wall Street or political crooks, drug lords or criminals who scourge
society? Even the Book of Job speaks of the devil getting permission
to bring horror upon horror to a seemingly innocent man, though he
himself was a part of God’s family and by all accounts a good and true
man!

Then what about whatever abuses (sexual, emotional, injustices,
you-name-them) we have to deduce either God brought into my life or at
least allowed to smite me?! The Hitlers and the Pol Pot’s are one
thing… how about horrible coal-mine accidents, car crashes, cancer
that takes a person down a road of agony? Sure, some are healed,
miracles happen and victims live, even thrive, are restored to full
health and even wealth after the misery… but often that’s not how
things go.

I have long ago made peace with the fact that we do not have all the
answers, not even the wisest of human beings (be they believers or
not) can offer a full, satisfactory answer for all of this.

But this I know: I have breath and can think. Today, THIS day I can
focus on myself and my pain (or “painS”, whatever they may be) or I
can focus best as I’m able, on Father, Son, Spirit and others.

I KNOW I won’t live forever on this particular earth. I’m positive
there will be a change, a transition, it’s not an “if” but rather
merely a “when” and “how” matter. So I have only this day, from the
time I awake until I sleep. Nothing more or less. And the rest of the
day or night is not assured in any case.

So when the day is grey, what then?

I can either stare at myself and allow -self- to occupy the lion’s
share of my thoughts, time, effort and consideration… or I can find
a real and healing therapy in caring for others.

I find a lot of verses that speak to such things in the Book. Here is
but one small section I’d ask you to consider in the context which
I’ve been writing in this blog:

Philippians Chapter 2

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with
Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the
Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete
by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of
one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to
your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

GK- You might feel like dirt. They might feel like it too! Is your
focus on you or others?

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as
Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death??? even death on a cross!

GK- Whew! And what is it I’M whining about in my life??!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the
name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on
earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father.

GK- We are indeed to be about glorifying God, our very lives bringing
HIM honor and gory, not ourselves some sense of personal fulfillment.
It’s HIS name, not mine that is important. How does HE feel, not
merely how do I feel today…

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed???not only in
my presence, but now much more in my absence???continue to work out your
salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you
to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

GK- One of my fave verses here- v. 13. Do we really believe this?? Do
I? Yes. Even on grey days. My feelings are not in control, God is. I
must bow to Him, not them.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may
become blameless and pure, ???children of God without fault in a warped
and crooked generation.???[c] Then you will shine among them like stars
in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will
be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in
vain.

GK- Then, consider what Paul says about his own potentially “grey
days”… which from scripture it seems he had plenty of… and from
historical tradition, he had plenty of at the end of his life:

17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the
sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice
with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

GK- Indeed, “eyes off of self” and “dying to self” means we must learn
how to roll with the waves, for waves will indeed come. My boat does
get capsized, you may be looking up at a hole in the roof of the cabin
of your 737… this is a fallen world with real sin, human error, bad
judgments, horrible choices that people make and things such as
natural and other disasters, disease and etc., are part of the mix.
This is reality whether we like it and can make peace with the facts
or not!

What I worry most about is that our thinking, emotions and responses
are often faithless and rebellious rather than loving, obedient and
trusting toward the Lord, His Word and His Church. When we make such
choices based on our pain rather than on the Person of God, we
effectively try to take over, begin to taking HIS place in our own
life.

I am neither other’s Lord or Savior… nor my own! Never!!! NEVER -CAN- BE!

Therefore, on grey days one must decide as best as within their own
power, to trust, obey and follow even through the valley of the shadow
of death.

Frankly, I find focusing on and serving -others- to the best of my
ability some of the best therapy and healing that has ever come my own
way in such times.

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. But it’s -always- time
to focus on Jesus and others, to love, trust and obey. Though all this
is a matter of our own individual choice, notice it is more than
optional- it is a command from God. For those who’d like to debate
such a point, I leave you (and myself!) Jesus’ own words:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing
that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the
commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,”
answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord
is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is
this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment
greater than these.” Mark 12.28-31

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