You arrived at college, excited to take on the world. But the dust has settled. The honeymoon is over. You have a really annoying roommate. Tomorrow you have to wake up early for a class you don't like. And to make matters worse, you still don't have an iPhone 7.
I feel your pain.
Today is Just the Worst
My alarm wailed at 1:00am this morning. And by alarm, I mean my two-year-old daughter. And by wailed, I mean pounded on her door with the force of a UFC fighter. I rolled out of bed, which, by the way, is the loudest bed in the world. The 'creak' of the homemade bed frame woke up my five-month-old son, who woke up my wife. And the thing I wanted more than anything in that moment was to crawl back into bed and bury myself into a deep sleep. But the UFC fighter was relentless. So I stumbled into her bedroom so she could start hitting me because "I want mommmmmmy!"
Eventually, I put her to sleep and stumbled back into bed and smiled back to sleep. I'm glad that's over.
Then, the Ultimate Fighting Child did this nine more times.
Life is difficult. Yes, I have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe, but I just need coffee right now.
The next morning, I was about to complain about my lack of sleep. But then, I had a thought. As a Christian, do I have a right to complain? Why do I let the little things drown out the big things?
Here's my point. The bad news (no sleep, annoying roommates, full schedules) can't compare to the Good News.
The Good News
We get so desperately concerned if others like us, but right now, our Father in heaven delights in us. And He's not just a Father out in Heaven somewhere. He's God-with-us, God on the cross, Who ransomed us from eternal death and gave us eternal life. Why then are we so worried if we'll land the dream career or make a big enough paycheck? We might not get enough sleep from time to time. So what? The Good News gets better. God-with-us is also God-IN-us, the Holy Spirit, Giver of Life, Eternal Joy, alive in our hearts.
Why are we worried about the little things in front of us when we have a heavenly destination in God?
St. Teresa of Calcutta understood the good news: "In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth, a life full of the most atrocious tortures on earth, will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel."
And Heaven is not a glorified Disney World. It is "the true homeland toward which we are heading and to which, already, we belong." (CCC 2802) It is, finally, where we belong! Unspeakable joy. Unending bliss. A real destination!
Don't you want to live everyday like Psalm 62? This should be the mindset of the Christian:
"Thus I will bless you throughout my life, and raise my hands in prayer to your name; my soul will be filled as if by rich food, and my mouth will sing your praises and rejoice. I will remember you as I lie in bed, I will think of you in the morning, for you have been my helper."
But sometimes we need coffee, too.
So here's what I'm proposing. We can be tired. We can be annoyed. We can be unhappy today. But let's focus on the big things: Our God, Our home, His countless gifts to us.
Philippians 4 lays out exactly what to do when your day starts to take a turn for the worse:
"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7) Don't overcomplicate this. As soon as life gets difficult, actually talk to God about it. Thank God for His gifts. Ask God for help. And get ready for the peace that the world cannot give!
The next time UFC gets up and starts attacking her bedroom door, I am going to look up to Heaven and look inside myself to find the God who loves me. I will thank the Lord for ears to hear. I will thank the Lord for giving me a daughter. I will thank the Lord for this heart that continues to beat. For the, literally, countless blessings in front of me every moment of every day.
The next time you have to wake up super early for a class you hate, thank God that you are one of the 7% of the world able to go to college. The next time Hillary or Trump make you want to throw the remote at the TV, thank God that you were born in a free country. The next time you find yourself at the back of a long coffee line, thank God that you don't have to wait in line for Him.
He's right here.