When something unpleasant happened, if you asked my dad how bad it was, he’d say, “Bad, but not too bad.” This became almost a motto for us over the years. I still say it and he’s been gone for over seventeen years. We tell ourselves nothing in life is so bad that it couldn’t be worse, but that doesn’t really help, does it? Saying a problem or trial is “bad, but not too bad” can bring a smile to my face, no matter what it is.
Paul might have been the first one to have an attitude of bad, but not too bad when he endured so many terrible hardships – shipwrecks, beatings, going hungry, imprisonment (2 Corinthians 11). He went a step further when he realized that in all these horrible circumstances, God’s grace was all he needed. Everything he went through, including his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12) was survivable because of grace. He even learned to “delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties” (verse 10). He discovered when he was weak, he was strong in Christ.
The whole world is enduring hardship this year and even though it’s worse than other years, every year brings its share of trials, problems and heartache. With Christ in us, we can face these trials head on and say, it’s bad, but not too bad. With God’s grace, in our weakness, we can be strong. Like Paul, we can boast about our weaknesses so the power of Christ can work through us and shine brightly in the darkness.