I wish I could meet every person who reads this blog. I’d love to sit with you and have a heart to heart – get to know you, share real struggles and joys, cry and laugh together.
But while I don’t have the privilege of fulfilling this desire, I can confidently say that without ever even having met you, I know something about you!
Beyond a shadow of a doubt:I know that you have never had a bad day! Click To Tweet
“What!?” You may be thinking… “Just yesterday my car broke down, I dropped the milk jug and it spilled all over my clean kitchen floor, 3 of my children got sick, and to top it all off, I misplaced my calendar and have no idea what was on it for tomorrow, let alone for the next few weeks! How can you say I have never had a bad day?!”
Or you may be genuinely grieving the loss of a precious loved one, and feel as though nothing could be more painful and confusing than where you are right now. I understand. I’ve been there. Several times…
But I’m still sticking to my guns – you have never had a bad day!
You may indeed at times feel like your life sucks! You look across your white picket fence, and your neighbours seem to have it all together. You go to your congregation on Sunday and everyone is smiling, worshipping the Lord wholeheartedly. And you wonder why you’re the only one who is seemingly struggling in life.
Well, you’re doing one thing right and you’re doing one thing wrong…
The right thing you’re doing is comparing yourself to people.
The wrong thing you’re doing is comparing yourself with the wrong people!
You’re contrasting your circumstances to folks who have never had a bad day either…
I’d like you to consider comparing yourself to the following people, and if you can still say by the end of this post, that you are having a bad day, well, I’ll eat my hat! Agreed?
Compare Yourself With Paul
In 2 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul was trying to convince the Corinthians that the false apostles who had taken over in his absence were wolves in sheeps’ clothing. He felt forced into laying out the credentials of his sufferings for the Lord, to prove his genuine faith and motives.
How do your bad days measure up to his from 2 Corinthians 11:24-28?:
Five times Paul received 39 lashes
In Deuteronomy 25:1-3, forty lashes were set as the maximum number of whippings that could be legally administered. But since, all too often, the person died on the 40th lash, and to avoid going over the maximum number, the Rabbis made the legal number of lashes in Paul’s day to be 39. Which would pretty much lead the person to near death. Paul endured these beatings five times!
Three times Paul was beaten with rods
These were beatings by the Romans with flexible sticks that were tied together.
Once he was stoned
In Lystra (Acts 14:19-20)
Three times Paul was shipwrecked and spent a night and a day adrift at sea
There were no “Mayday” callings to the nearest port in those days. No hope of ever being found in the middle of the ocean… At least one of the shipwrecks Paul was involved in was so severe that he spent an entire seemingly endless night and day floating on the wreckage, waiting to be rescued.
Paul faced danger from robbers and rivers
Two of the greatest dangers in the ancient world for travellers were rivers and robbers. Paul’s journey from Perga to Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14), for example, required him to travel through the robber infested Taurus mountains and to cross two dangerous flood-prone rivers.
Paul also faced constant danger from the Jewish leaders, the Gentiles, in the city, in the wilderness, at sea, and from false brothers (those who appeared to be believers, but were not).
Paul adds in verses 28-29 that apart from the occasional physical suffering he endured, he struggled with the constant, daily burden of concern for the churches he had planted. This caused him intense emotional pain.
Wow… my claim to be having some hard times are looking pretty weak already. How about you?
Compare Yourself With the Martyrs
Biblical and other Christian saints of the past willingly experienced martyrdom and endured pain and suffering such as you and I have never known, in order to remain faithful to their God.
Hebrews 11:35-39 lays out graphic scenes for us:
Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
These atrocities have occurred throughout history where we find precious people who gave their lives rather than recant their faith! Here are just a handful;
The Apostle Peter…
Was martyred in Rome around the years 64 to 67. Tradition holds that he was crucified upside down after refusing to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus because he was unworthy to be executed in the same way as the Lord.
Was probably a disciple of the Apostle John and may have been one of the chief people responsible for compiling the New Testament of the Bible that we have today.
Because of his refusal to burn incense to the Roman Emperor Polycarp was sentenced to burn at the stake around AD 160. Tradition says that the flames did not kill him so he was stabbed to death.
Most known for his translation of the Bible into English, Tyndale was choked to death while tied to the stake and then his dead body was burned in 1536.
Along with four of his missionary colleagues, Elliot was killed on January 8, 1956 while trying to establish contact with the Auca Indians in Ecuador.
When Elliot and his friends landed on a river beach on that fateful January day they were slaughtered by the very people they came to reach out to. Their deaths were not in vain. Amazingly, their widows continued to try and make peaceful contact and eventually won the hearts of the tribe.
Mary Sameh George…
Traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to help a poor family with their basic needs. On March 28, 2014, this Christian service brought the ultimate sacrifice. “Once they saw that she was a Christian [because of the cross hanging on her rear-view mirror], they jumped on top of the car, to the point that the vehicle was no longer visible,” an eyewitness said, “The roof of the car collapsed. When they realized that she was starting to die, they pulled her out of the car and started pounding on her. They kept beating her, kicking her, stabbing her with any object or weapon they could find.”
Why You Should Definitely Compare Yourself To Others Click To Tweet
My friend, I write these things not to scare, depress, or disturb you. I bring them up from the pages of history to help you. You see, whatever you and I have gone through, or are going through, when we compare our circumstances and experiences with those who have suffered horribly and died extreme painful and cruel deaths, our perspective changes.
Sure it’s troubling when you discover that one of your children may have a learning difficulty, or you find yourself in a temporary financial crisis, or you struggle watching a loved one fade away. And, believe me, I’m not making light of these hardships and trials. They are real, and they are not easy, but they have all been graciously handpicked for you by your Father in Heaven to sanctify and grow your faith and your witness.
But, I for one, want to place them in the right proportion, and encourage you not to compare yourself with the happy-go-lucky people around you, which will only lead you to question why God has placed you in your current position.
I would like to challenge you to think about those who have gone before you, and for the sake of the Truth, for the love of the Gospel, and for the glory of God, underwent more brutal and torturous calamities than you and I will ever, ever, ever know.
Really, when we stop and think about their troubles, don’t ours seem, as the Bible puts it, “light and momentary afflictions?” (2 Corinthians 4:17)…
And that is why you should definitely compare yourself to others. Just make it the right ‘others.’
Have you ever had a bad day, in comparison to these?