The Best and Worst of Times

As hard times come, it’s often hard to see anything else but the pains of tragedy. If you’re not watching, you’ll miss the real blessings of life. Charles Dickens penned these insightful words: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” The greatest times of life are often coupled with some of the most trying moments. Could you be missing some of your best days right now?

Via Elvis Kennedy @ Flickr Creative Commons

Via Elvis Kennedy @ Flickr Creative Commons

In Scripture, we read about a man named Joseph who had a prophetic dream. In this dream he saw seven fat cows and seven skinny cows, representing seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Often we forget that the good and the bad are not isolated, but fit like a hand in a glove.

In Indiana, we get to experience four truly different seasons throughout the year. Nature shows us this principle in the way the four seasons are balanced with both blessings and curses. The darkness of winter is balanced by the brightness of its snow. The rains of spring bring the vibrant flowers of Easter. The blistering heat of summer also brings longer days of sunshine. Autumn brings the death of vegetation, but amazing colors as they begin to change.

I was reminded of this as I prepared a short message for our church’s annual Homecoming service. This is the time each year when we celebrate our history with all who have ever called our church “home” at any given time.

Here is what I shared with them…

I remember Sundays when we had less than a dozen in attendance. I remember Sundays when we had to set up folding chairs in the front yard and leave the doors and windows open.

I remember worrying that our church would soon die because we had no kids attending. I remember having hundreds of kids attending Vacation Bible School.

It was the best of times…it was the worst of times.

I remember preaching my first sermon at 16 years old when I was so nervous that I only spoke for 10 minutes. I ‘m reminded of that calling each time I speak now, still getting nervous because I don’t want to dishonor God.

I remember where I was sitting when I was almost sure Marilyn and I were going to break up. I remember my church family partying it up at our reception, long after we had left for our honeymoon.

I remember preaching the Father’s Day sermon just a few days after Marilyn and I had miscarried our first child. I remember dedicating each of our kids to the Lord and seeing my oldest son, Josiah, choose to serve Christ and be baptized.

It was the best of times…it was the worst of times.

I remember strong disagreements with dad over leadership decisions where we would go weeks without speaking except at church. Just this week I called him to see what he would do about a leadership issue I had at school.

I remember seeing close friends fall away from Christ and stop attending any church. I remember them also finding it where they lost it, repent, and begin being used for God’s glory again.

I remember dry seasons, and I remember supernatural seasons. One thing is for sure, It really was the best and worst of times…but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

Don’t ever let the bad times drown out the good. Often, they go hand-in-hand. As Christians, we are more than overcomers…not just in the good times, but the bad as well.

QUESTION: Where can you see both the good and the bad throughout your life? Leave a comment and let’s celebrate together.

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