This is the Day…Monday
January 25, 2021
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
In the fall of 1993, Richard Edwards was admitted to Town and Country Hospice in Dickson Tennessee. Richard had been given an unfortunate diagnosis of pancreatic cancer several months earlier. Though he had received some treatments, they had not been successful in improving his prognosis.
Richard was a 48-year-old father of two daughters. He and his wife were always very kind and welcoming to me when I came by for visits as the Hospice chaplain. Although they had a church home, they had not attended in recent years and quickly accepted me as their pastor through this difficult time.
When visiting a patient like Richard, I never knew exactly what I was going to experience. Richard had good days when he was feeling strong and able to sit up and chat for a while. But there were also many bad days when Richard’s energy had left him. And then there were the ugly days when the pain and sickness seemed almost unbearable. Regardless of the day he was having, each time I visited, Richard would say to me, “If it was always sunny the world would be a desert.”
One day I asked Richard to explain what that statement meant to him and why he said it so often. He told me that his illness had taught him the value and purpose of each day. Good days are easy, and we should take advantage of them and enjoy them. Bad days are hard, but they give us a chance to see how God can work through the bad and make it good. None of us are guaranteed all good days. I was amazed and inspired by Richard’s answer.
Several weeks later, as I stopped in for a visit, I realized that it was one of those ugly days for Richard. The ugliest yet. As I sat by Richard’s bed, he finally looked up at me. We spoke quietly for a moment or two, and then, through all the pain, he smiled and said, “It is raining today, so tomorrow will be better” It was as if Richard knew what was coming because a few hours later, Richard died.
I never forgot the words that Richard shared. They remind me of two very important Scriptures that we should keep close to our heart. In Ecclesiastes, “On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we will not take anything for granted. (Ecclesiastes 7:14) And in Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Our lives are filled with good days, bad days, and sometimes, even ugly days. Celebrate the good days. Learn from the bad days. And in all things, discover the presence of God in your life each day. Without the rain, we would not appreciate the Son.