Relative to What?

Think of your worst day. What would it be? Horrible to think about, I know. So let’s take what your second worst day would look like. Or even what you constitute as a regular bad day. What does it consist of?

Maybe a pipe freezes in your basement then bursts, needing repair work when you don’t really have the extra funds to cover it.

Your employer suddenly gets mad at you, only to find a coworker lied about your performance behind your back.

How about you get a bad grade on a test that was essential for you to move forward in a class or a field you desperately needed to do well in.

Car accident. Turns out you didn’t have collision insurance, and you have no idea where the $2,400.00 is going to come from to get your car back on the road, the car that you need to get to and from your job everyday.

And the list goes on. Granted, any one of the scenarios would be unfortunate. And more than likely, you’ve had a variation of one or all of them happen in your life. But the question I’d like you to consider is, does this constitute a truly bad day for you, even in it’s most mild definition?

One thing I struggle with most is that God observes the entire world at one time, not just my world. Which begs me to ask Him, how do my bad days compare relative to the rest of humanity’s bad days? I won’t be so bold as to presume I know God’s actual thoughts on the issues, but a quick look at statistical research allows some fairly reasonable assumptions.

With only 570 million cars distributed among more than 6.69 billion people, about 8.5% of the world’s population owns a vehicle. Fewer still own something a middle class American would consider “nice.” (Just picture a 1980’s rust bucket Toyota from Man On Fire). That means more than 6 billion (six billion) people can’t even imagine owning [in their wildest dreams] what you scorn as a bane to your family budget.

That pipe bursting? Just be glad you haven’t died at the hands of your faucet yet. (You know, that shiny lever over the stainless steel basin in your kitchen that instantly grants you clean water within a few degrees of the temperature you want it at). The UN recently announced that contaminated water has killed more human beings than all our wars combined.

And as for your tests in academia or your vocational trials, be glad you even have the opportunity to go to school or land a decent job. 72 million children are out of school around the world, a figure equivalent to the entire primary school-aged population in Europe and North America. And almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. And not because they want to.

Feeling grateful yet?

Oh, and just in case your worst day ever does happen (which for me would be the unthinkable: losing my wife and children), then you’d join the conservatively estimated 1 million families in Sudan, 1.5 million families in Rwanda, and countless millions of families in Burma, Vietnam, Tibet, and China (to name a few) that have endured–or are currently enduring–daily loss of their loved ones. (For the brave, read the sobering report “Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century” and “Secondary Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century“).

I recommend that you gather your loved ones around the kitchen faucet and thank Jesus later tonight. ch:

  • Sarah Hollister

    That is so very true. We have a roommate that continues to wallow in self-pity over the fact that his marriage is over. While, we offer counseling and advice and constructive criticism, he still thinks he has it bad. In light of the recent devastating floods here in Nashville, at least he has his life and his health and didn’t have any flooding here.

    • We’re praying for you and the flooding still. Talk about keeping things in perspective! My feet are dry; thankful!

  • Mark Z

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for posting that, definitely puts things into perspective. We are blessed in so many ways here in the US.

    • I might even say, the *most* blessed here in the US. Thanks for commenting, Mark!

  • Leah Stockholm

    Christopher,
    That’s just what in needed today! 🙂
    Thank you.

  • Billy.J

    You are so right CH! At this time in my life, when hormonal breakdowns happen almost everyday, it is extremely easy to assume I have had the worst day, or a bad week. But in comparison to the world’s ‘bad days’, my day is a good day. Even if I near fail a test I knew I could’ve aced, like you said. At least I didn’t fail, or at least I can go to school. Great post man. I will defiantly think about my ‘bad days’ in retrospect to the world’s days. Thanks man for a great post! 🙂

    Billy. J

    • You’re welcome. Use those hormones to go tackle a coyote in your back woods! Love ya!

  • Wow… just what I needed today MAN OF GOD! I was feeling a lil discoraged that our nicer van’s radiator blew up the other day… so we only have one vehicle to use… BUT… that means that not only do we have A vehicle… we have 2! Also I was told yesterday by the call center I work at that there are no calls for me to take for the next 2-3 months… although I have never taken unemployment in the past and had been kinda annoyed about the unemployment taken out of the check, I’m thankful now 🙂

    • Wow, Rob. Sounds like this war really right up your alley. Glad to be of some encouragement to you, bro.

  • reenie

    Hey Christopher good word! Truth is my worst day would be a day without the Lord, and his grace and mercy….Since Psl. declares that will never happen, I can not get away from my God who loves me , I am thankful!!! My 2nd worst day would then be losing all that I love here on Earth – My family!!!! I can not even fathom it and yet many many many live it – Thank you for once again turning the kalidascope to show a deeper and unmeasuarable truth about life as we know it -To be thankfull ~ perspective is everything – love ya !

    • You’re so welcome. And thanks for the kaleidoscope analogy…I like that! Maybe I should re-name my blog: The Kaleidoscope Turner.

  • I heard some crazy white bald guy put it this way, “Stop telling God how big your mountains are, and start telling your mountains how big your God is.”

    I like that. And as for a blog rename, how about, “Ceeking the Lost”?