One Sunday evening this past summer, Dr. Don Sisk preached at Lancaster Baptist. He shared one of the most encouraging messages I’ve ever heard! It was entitled “How to Survive a Rough Day” and it shared seven appropriate responses when things are going against you. Dr. Sisk began the message with this humorous reading summarizing the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:
“From the moment he wakes up with gum in his hair, things just do not go Alexander’s way. Getting out of bed, he trips on a skateboard and drops his sweater into a sink full of water. At breakfast, Alexander’s brothers Nick and Anthony reach into their cereal boxes and pull out amazing prizes, while all Alexander ends up with is cereal.
On the way to school, he doesn’t get the window seat in the carpool. At school, his teacher doesn’t like his drawing of an invisible castle (which is actually just a blank sheet of paper) and criticizes him for singing too loud and leaving out 16. His friend Paul reduces Alexander to third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch.
At the dentist’s, the dentist tells Alexander he has a cavity, the elevator door hurts his foot, Anthony pushes him into the mud, Nick calls him a crybaby for crying, and Mom catches him in the act of punching Nick. At the shoe store, they’re sold out of Alexander’s choice of sneakers (blue ones with red stripes), so Mom has to buy him plain white sneakers, which he’ll refuse to wear.
At Dad’s office, Alexander makes a mess of things when he fools around with everything there (the copying machine, the books, and the telephone) getting to the point where Dad tells him not to pick him up from work anymore.
At home, Alexander’s bad day is far from over. The family has lima beans for dinner (which he hates), there is kissing on TV (which he also hates), bath time becomes a nightmare (too hot water, soap in the eyes, and losing a marble down the drain) and he has to wear his railroad train pajamas (he hates his railroad train pajamas).
At bedtime, Alexander’s nightlight burns out, he bites his tongue, Nick takes back a pillow, and the family cat chooses to sleep with Anthony. No wonder Alexander wants to move to Australia. The book ends with his mother’s assurance that everyone has bad days, even people who live in Australia.”
Each point of the message to follow was taken from the statements of Jesus when He was in the cross, and each one provided a practical and insightful principle from how the Lord responded in the midst of His suffering. Here are the things he shared about how to survive a rough day:
1. Forgive Those Who Are Messing Up Your Day—“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
2. Encourage Others Around You Who Are Struggling or Hurting—“…today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
3. Take Care of Your Responsibilities—“…behold thy mother!” (John 19:27)
4. Take Your Difficult Questions to the Lord—“…my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
5. Let Your Needs Be Made Known to Others—“…I thirst.” (John 19:28)
6. State Your Faith that God is Working—“…it is finished.” (John 19:30)
7. Be Sure to Commit All Things to God—“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
What powerful principles from the cross of Christ! No matter how hard your day is, it could never compare to the suffering of Jesus as He shed His blood for our sin. I guess the summary would be, to survive a rough day—look to Jesus!
I hope these seven principles from Dr. Sisk will encourage you like they did me!