I’m not superstitious. Friday the 13th means absolutely nothing to me, and if it weren’t for the people surrounding me at work, it would likely go by without me even thinking about it. In fact, some years ago I wrote a piece entitled “Thursday the 12th” in which I outlined how everything bad happened on Thursday the 12th, and nothing at all happened on Friday the 13th! And since that time, whenever someone begins anticipating the potential horrors for an upcoming Friday the 13th, I jokingly tell them that it’s Thursday the 12th I worry about.
I didn’t even realize we were going to have a Friday the 13th last year until Wednesday morning when an accident on the highway I take to get to work put me an hour behind. Even then I wouldn’t have thought anything of it until someone at work commented that my “Friday the 13th” had started early. Wait…It was, after all, Wednesday the 11th…Wednesday the 11th…Thursday the 12th…Friday the 13th…Was there a pattern emerging here?
I pushed it aside. Surely there really wasn’t anything to this. However, when we awoke that Friday morning to a flooded basement, guess what thought immediately entered my mind…Oh no! Friday the 13th has begun!
The troubles didn’t stop with the flooded basement, either. I got to work to find that one of my favorite patients was not expected to live through the weekend. A ridiculous set of circumstances then dictated I would be over 2 hours late getting home from work, and when I finally got home, my washer overflowed and flooded my laundry room. By the time I got it all cleaned up, it was nearly 10:00 pm. It certainly sounded like Friday the 13th horrors to me!
But wait. My basement had also flooded on Christmas Eve of that year. That wasn’t a Friday, and it certainly wasn’t the 13th; and working at a hospital whose mandate is, in part, palliative care, there are many days during the year when one of my “favorite” patients begins to fail. By no means are those all on Friday the 13th. And yes, it also isn’t the first time my laundry room hs flooded, nor the first time I’d been unable to get home from work on time, and those incidences had never before happened on Friday the 13th. And not on Thursday the 12th or Wednesday the 11th either! In fact, if I were to scrutinize every day, I would see that there are many, many days each month that seem to specialize in being ‘problem’ days. The day of the week doesn’t dictate the kind of day we will have, and neither does the date on the calendar. Annoyances happen! The cycle of life ends! Problems arise! Things come our way!
There is something that will make all the difference in the world, however, and the effectiveness of this “fix” isn’t limited to Wednesday the 11th, Thursday the 12th, OR Friday the 13th…
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Ps. 100:1-5 NLT)
Did you get that? We are advised to give God praise, to enter His gates with thanksgiving, to worship Him with gladness, to come to Him with songs of joy.
The Psalm doesn’t specify that this is only for the good times. In fact, it doesn’t give us any specific time. That is because it is for all times, the good and the bad.
Am I stretching these verses, trying to make them “fit” my theology?
Not according to the rest of the Bible:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials…” (Rom 5:3a NLT)
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy…” (James 1:2 NLT)
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus…” (1 Thess. 5:18 NLT)
God whispered this thought into my head as I was still scrubbing my laundry room floor at 9:00 on the night of that Friday the 13th. I immediately pushed aside the complaints I had been contemplating and began to praise Him. I was then reminded of all the good things that hadalso happened that day, and as I thanked God for each one, I began to thank Him for the bad things as well. After all, that laundry room floor really did need to be scrubbed, and the new sump pump we needed to buy willgive us peace of mind the next time we are away on a trip. Finally, God had given me the energy that got me through that long, tedious day, and despite the annoyances of being a home owner, I have a warm house to live in, my family is safe, healthy and doing well in all areas, and…well, the list could go on, but you get the point: I am indeed very, very blessed!
It’s funny how the day no longer seemed like Friday the 13th…
We don’t need to fear superstition–hey, we don’t need to fear troubles of any kind! God is with us, and we can rely on Him at all times! The next time your circumstances appear to be overwhelming you, remember Psalms 100 and spend some time giving God praise. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.