As we go about our day, we often hear that question. It is an exercise in pleasant politeness, and at times it is asked with genuine, heartfelt concern. It can also be not only asked mindlessly, but answered in the same manner. Some are conditioned to say “fine” without stopping to assess. Others are more curmudgeonly bent and can spout off a litany of complaints without breathing hard, if asked for an assessment of how their day is going.
As we reach the anniversary of certain events in Boston and West, Texas, or as we think back to recent tragedies in South Korea, Malaysia, or Washington state, both those who survived unscathed, who bear permanent scars, or who even perished had no doubt been asked the equivalent of that question. Probably, some were cheerful and positive and maybe some were more negatively inclined. Yet, especially for survivors, their view of each day was understandably and permanently altered.
Here in the land of freedom and opportunity, we can easily take for granted how well, materially and physically, things are for each of us. Catastrophes and tragedies often alter that. Pain and loss rearrange our priorities and refine our perspective. Those hard events can help us see that happiness and fulfillment do not depend on external forces applied to us but radiate from within us.
I cannot help but think of the undoubtedly grimy, malnourished, and mistreated preacher scratching out those inspired words from his likely poorly lit and intemperate climes. Body worn and disfigured from beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, endless road and boat trips, eyesight failing, and heart burdened with concern for churches and individuals, Paul could still say, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13). How could one improve on that general approach to life and each day? May God help us to appreciate the blessings and opportunities we are given today, and use them as advantageously as possible to achieve the glorification of God! Make today a great day.