Have you ever had a REALLY, REALLY bad day? I mean a day that was so bad, you just wanted to “die.” Things went wrong everywhere and at every turn. Your boss was upset about something and took it out on you. Your spouse was mad at you for whatever, you don’t even know what it was. The children misbehaved all day long. The hot water heater rusted out and you had to buy a new one. And to make matters worse, you had a splitting headache. On days like these you just want to crawl in bed and sleep away your depression.

Now the apostle Paul had a day like that. It was a REALLY, REALLY bad day for him. Prior to his bad day, he

and Barnabas are in Lystra healing people. The citizens thought they were Greek gods. They thought Barnabas was Zeus. Since Paul did all the talking, they called him Hermes,  the chief speaker for Zeus. They strongly tried to persuade the people that they were just humans and not gods. They used the opportunity to preach Christ, but the crowd still wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

Now shortly after that day, you read of Paul’s terrible day. In Acts 14:19-20, “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he arose and entered the city. And the next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe.”

Paul’s really bad day, started with false accusations by the Jews. The day progressively got worse when the crowds turned against them, yelling, screaming, and threatening him. His day deteriorated rapidly as he felt the stones hitting his head, face, body, and limbs. The striking stones was so overwhelming and brutal, he was knocked to the ground and laid motionless. He showed no signs of life, and his enemies rejoiced believing he was dead. Could it get any worse? Yes, it could. Now they  dragged him by his limp limbs along the streets out of the city and throw him out like a piece of garbage on to a field.

As his sad and crying friends stood around him, the Spirit of God raised up Paul. He awoke and stood up and marched right back into the city!

So what do you do when you have a bad day? What do you do when you feel like you’ve been pelted with stones and knocked down?

First, you get up. You don’t stay down. As Paul marched right back into the city, so you march right back into the fray of the matters and find a way to resolve them. There is always tomorrow. There is always hope. Things can become better. But they won’t get better if you just stay down.

Second, you get a good night’s sleep. Paul and Barnabas left the next day after they slept. I am always amazed at how different things look in the morning. I go to sleep in the darkness of night thinking things are really bad. Yet come the morning light, I awake with a  renewed mind and a refreshed body, and realize things are not that bad. I have a new mind set and yesterday’s problems no longer seem insurmountable.

Third, press on! Paul and his traveling buddies did not quit. They pressed on to the next town and started preaching again. Get out of bed, get dressed, and go meet the challenges of the day. Do what needs to be done. Fight on! What you thought was undefeatable will soon be vanquished by your persistent determination.

All of us have bad days. Some days are really bad. Yet none of us have been stoned and left for dead. Paul with God’s Spirit, prayer, and determination pressed on. So can we, with the Spirit’s help, with prayer, and with persistence. No matter how bad is the day, follow this three-step formula every time you are knocked down. — Tom