My friend, may I ask you a question? Misfortune. It isn’t easy to deal with it, is it? When we see it as a gift, however, are we able to appreciate how it to strengthens us as Christians rather than weakening our Christian character?

My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.

Complaining. We all do it. In fact, we so often immerse ourselves in it that it easily becomes one of those habits that sticks with us through life. The weatherman blows the forecast and we wake up to a foot of snow that wasn’t predicted and we complain aloud about both the work we will have to do and the fact that the forecast was wrong. Our spouse does something to hurt our feelings and we withdraw into a quiet, whispered complaint, complete with accusations and self- pity. The line at the checkout is slower than normal and we automatically shift into the most common mode of complaint known to man: the grumpy, internal and silent complaint. Whether it’s a loud, bold statement, a secretive, whispered pact with ourselves, or the handy, silent, self-approving thought, complaining just seems to be a part of daily living when you think about it. However, if we just stopped from time to time to examine what a total waste of time complaining is, we’d probably do a lot less of it. Moreover, when we hide misfortune with the cloak of complaint, do we actually miss many golden opportunities to worship instead of complaining?

Misfortune, when seen as a gift, can often do more to strengthen than weaken our Christian character.

Here’s a story. A family signed up for a hike with a ranger. As they strolled down a forest path they came to a part of the forest that had been burned by a wild fire. Yet, many of the trees continued to live. When asked about how the trees had survived, the ranger told them a remarkable thing. “When a tree’s life is threatened, stressed by the elements of fire, drought, or other calamity,” The Ranger stated, “It twists beneath its bark to reinforce and make itself stronger. On the surface, this new inner strength may not be visible, for the bark often continues to give the same vertical appearance. Only when the exterior is stripped away, or when the tree is felled, are its inner struggles revealed.” (Source Unknown.)

God can use our grief and times of trouble to strengthen us in ways that are not visible to us or the world. What a shame it would be to waste those times in complaint or anger. Believing in God and trusting in His goodness is not an insurance policy against trouble. Like that burned over but still growing forest, a Christian’s life can be growing, even bountiful, despite calamity. Trouble will come; it happens to everyone no matter what they believe, but a Christian who recognizes that trouble is as much an opportunity as times of bounty, will never be buried by it. God wants you and I to receive blessings with grace and troubles with humility. When we do we will grow inwardly in ways that only a Christian can and there will be no fire in life that can put out our faith.

We pray. Heavenly Father. May we put on Your whole armor that we may stand against the wiles of the devil. We put on Your Helmet of Salvation and the Breastplate of Righteousness, the righteousness of Christ. May we boldly wear the Girdle of Truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), the Truth, Integrity and the Holiness of God. May we also be shod with the Sandals of the Gospel of Peace, that we may stand on solid ground whenever misfortune comes our way. Above all, may we put on your Shield of Faith to quench every fiery dart, arrow, spear and missile the enemy shoots our way; and with the precious Sword of the Spirit, Your Holy Word that’s alive and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword (Heb. 4:12) be our offensive and defensive weapon. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to ”This Passing Day!”

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