Several years ago I read the book “Same Kind of Different As Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This true story is rich with lessons in service, humility, love, and thanksgiving learned in the fires of intense suffering and loss. A thought from their book stuck with me. Ron and Deborah Hall meet a homeless man at the shelter where they serve. He always arrives with a smile. They ask why. He responds, “It’s a good day, I woke up.” When faced with her terminal illness, Ron and Debbie remember his words and grasp the truth that every day is a gift from God.

How would our lives change if we started every day with the same thought and really believed it? Would the sunrise seem remarkable? Could we be thankful for the cold, the heat, the wind, the rain, the ice, and the snow? Would a cloudy day be as welcome as a sun-filled day? Could the first person we spoke to that day, whether family or friend or stranger, be greeted with the realization God placed them in our lives or path for a reason? For our families, a life-long commitment. For our friends, perhaps a season. And for the stranger, perhaps only a single encounter.  It might be for their good, or ours, or both.

Jesus is our role model. Remember the times he fed the hungry, calmed the frightened, healed the sick, led the lost, forgave the sinner, and prayed for those around him. Our job as a Christ-follower is to watch and act and pray. Watch for signs someone near you has a need. Then act. Perhaps with a word of encouragement, or compassion, or loving confrontation. Perhaps with a physical gesture – a simple touch or embrace. Investing time can be meaningful – a coffee date, a shopping trip, a hospital visit – or providing for a physical need. Pray for the person to seek God for comfort and strength.

I am struck by the lives we live on this earth, the human condition – so much joy alongside so much heartache. I don’t know how anyone survives the heartache if they can’t find the joy. Within each heartache is an opportunity – to meet God, to know God, and to praise God – and experience true joy. And the opportunity isn’t for us alone. It’s an opportunity to draw others closer to God.

“It’s a good day.”