That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Published 9:21 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

couple of weeks ago the folks over at Farmville Church of Christ (FCC) had a very intriguing post on Facebook. They took as their text that wonderful verse from the 118th Psalm, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

It’s a verse many of us remember for being the late Dr. Robert Schuller’s opening words in his “Hour of Power” TV programs back in the ‘70s. But the folks at FCC had another take.

They looked at the word “rejoice” and noted that the Psalmist does not say, “happy.” We are told to “rejoice” in the day we have this day, but that does not mean that the day will necessarily be a happy or jovial one.

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It’s true. As the old John Denver song reminds us, “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones, some days the heartache/won’t leave me alone.”

Not to be a downer, but not all of our days are full of joy and laughter. Hopefully, most of them are. It’s a joy to be alive, and to embrace the wonder and delight each day brings.

But you and I know that some days are just plain tough. There is more heart ache than joyful wonder. In such a time the 88th Psalm might be more appropriate. It is the one Psalm of unrelenting lament; not one verse of joyful praise to God. Just the Psalmist wondering, “O Lord, why do you cast me off? Why do you hide your face from me?”

In days like that it is important to remember that even tough days have a purpose. They are not just there to make us strong. Remember the line, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” They also have lessons to teach us, lessons that draw us closer to God — if for no other reason than they force us to come face to face with the reality that we cannot control everything.

We are thrown completely and totally on the grace and mercy of God, because this day, this situation, is totally beyond me.

One of my favorite writers, Father Richard Rohr, was reflecting on this last week and wrote, “…everything that happens is potentially sacred if we allow it to be. Our job as humans is to make admiration of reality and adoration of God fully conscious and intentional … Once we accept that God is in all situations, and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything and everywhere becomes an occasion for good and an encounter with God.”

I hope you have great and happy days, but don’t waste the bad and tough ones. They may have the most to teach you about yourself — and about God’s presence in your life.

Rev. Dr. Tom Robinson is pastor of Farmville Presbyterian Church. His email address is