We awoke at 4am to fly from one coast of the country to the other. Traveling is exhausting enough for one person, but as a family it seems even more so. Upon landing at the airport, my husband had to get on another plane and fly on for work. The boys and I were on our own.
Our belly's reminded us that it had been hours since breakfast but we needed to gather all our luggage. Then we waited for our ride which never came. Tears of exhaustion burned my eyes as I tried to figure out what to do. After finding another ride and getting home and unpacking our things, we realized there was no food in the house. We headed out to the store and found the car had a flat tire. (Did I mention it was pouring rain?) Then we waited an hour for the repair service to arrive.
We never made it to the store that day. Needless to say, when bedtime arrived, I greeted it with sweet relief.
We all have hard days. Challenging days. Days that stretch us, sometimes beyond what we can bear. Sometimes these days appear as a series of little irritating events that build up to one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Other days we wake up to find one huge unexpected event that lands like a bomb in our life.
Sometimes those hard days find us busy and distracted as we try to fix everything that has gone wrong. Or we get so caught up in our thoughts and feelings about our circumstances that it consumes us. Or perhaps we attempt to hide away from struggle of the day in the hopes that if we don't think about it, maybe it will all go just away.
Instead of such responses, hard days are opportunities for us to draw near to God. They are opportunities for us to rely on him, depend on him, and receive more of his grace. Such days remind us how desperate we are and how much we need our Savior. When we face hard days, we need to turn to God in prayer, seeking his help, strength, wisdom, salvation, and grace. As Tim Keller wrote in Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, "To pray is to accept that we are, and always will be, wholly dependent on God for everything."
A Prayer for Hard Days
Father in Heaven,
Help me! I am so weary and worn down by this day. So many things are happening all at once and I don't know what to do. I am overwhelmed. It feels like I am standing in a fierce wind that is whipping and swirling around me. I can't move; the force is so strong. It may just knock me down flat. And worse of all, what if I can't get back up again?
Father, I can barely lift my eyes to you. It's all I can do to cry out for help. Please extend your grace to me this day. Help me to see that you are in this and that you are with me. Help me to remember that you are not surprised or taken off guard by the events of this day.
In fact, you are the Sovereign God of all the earth. You are the Maker and Creator of all things. You know the end from the beginning. Everything is under your control, from the hearts of kings to sparrows and storm clouds; from the plans we make to our very breath. As you said to Job out the storm: "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?" (38:34-35).
As I dwell and meditate on who you are, I am amazed and filled with wonder that you would love and care for me. No other religion in all the world has a God that loves his people. No other religion has a God that listens and cares about the cries of the human heart. No other religion has a God that would humble himself and take on frail human flesh and live in this sin-stained world. No other religion has a God that would lay down his life for his people.
But you are that God. You are God alone. Your word tells me that before time began you chose me to be yours through your Son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4). You set your love on me and made me yours. Ephesians also says that through Christ, I have "redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" (1:7).
Forgive me for my fears about this day. Forgive me for how I have complained and muttered about how hard this day has been. Forgive me for forgetting that you are with me. Forgive me for forgetting who I am because of what your Son, Jesus Christ, has done. Forgive me for failing to remember the glorious truths and riches I have because of the gospel.
It is these truths that I am focusing my heart on in the midst of this hard day. I pray the words of Paul and claim them as my own that "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give me the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of my hearts enlightened, that I may know what is the hope to which he has called me, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe" (Ephesians 1:17-19).
Father, hear my prayer. Grant me gospel hope in the midst of this hard day. Help me to cling to your grace, your wisdom, and your strength.
Through Jesus and because of Jesus and in his name I pray, Amen.
Photo credit: © Unsplash/Jordan Bauer