Sometimes a bad day sneaks up on you. You are going along, minding your own business, and WHAM. Not even a chance to say thanks or take a breath. Just a bad day, dumped out of the sky.

I had one of those two weeks ago. It had all the elements of a humdinger—lack of sleep, lack of hygiene, lack of nutrition, proliferation of loud banging and clanging, and an overcast sky. I got out of the wrong bed on the wrong foot and was limping around with a chip on my shoulder.

Yeah, I was ticked. Just what did I do to deserve this?

Well, hey, we all have bad days, right? What made me think I was exempt?

What I always forget when I’m at the beginning of what I dub a bad day—you might say the unsuspecting day lives up to my expectations—is that God often has something else in mind. There I go, calling it a bad day before it even has a chance to get properly started.

Looking back on how the day actually turned out, I wonder if I would have noticed the shower of blessings? Would I have appreciated the four angels who helped me before 9 AM? Would I have been thankful for the productivity that resulted, if all had started out peachy?

Sometimes, it seems like the deck is stacked against me. Sometimes, it seems like a bad day is inevitable. But maybe I need to change my perspective, and think about the opportunities a bad day presents. There are the opportunities to recognize God’s grace in my everyday life. There are the opportunities to see God at work in the people around me. There are the opportunities to offer God my suffering and let him give me back the peace.

Most of all, I find that a bad day reminds me to pray. I don’t usually have a better option, and while it may not be a magic elixir—the day may still be bad after I’ve prayed—it does help me to let go and let God. It does help me to focus on the bigger picture and not become so caught up in me—MY worries, MY problems, MY bad day. It does help me to remember that I don’t have to be perfect, which means I won’t have perfect days all the time. And I’m not alone.

When a bad day sneaks up on you, may you have the courage to stop and pray, giving your bad day to God. And even when the bad day continues its course, I pray that you will find the wisdom to recognize the blessings that are nestled beneath the pains.