Have you ever had a day when nothing seemed to go right? If you haven’t then I would imagine that your time is coming, because life is a journey, and that journey is not always easy. A few days ago I had a day that started out great, everything was working in my favor and I felt like I was on “Cloud 9.” That was until the afternoon, when everything took a horrible turn. After leaving my house to run some errands, one of my tires blew out in my car, and after frantically attempting to put on my spare, I came to find that another tire was quickly losing air as well. I got my car to a station, only to realize that I had left my money at home. Getting a ride back to my house from some helpful strangers, I realized that I had left the keys to my house with the mechanic back at his shop, so I had to break into my own home. A police man happened to be driving by while half of my body was dangling from my front window, and I had to then explain that it was my own house I was breaking into, and all of this happened between the hours 2 and 5 PM. I could go on about the terrible day, but I think you got the point; it was a day that started out great and fell apart quite quickly. I like to call days like these “blue shell days.”
Now, if you are familiar with the Mario Kart franchise, then I bet that you have already caught onto the metaphor. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is series of very popular racing games where the players get to choose and race as their favorite Nintendo characters. In these races, the players are able to be equipped with all sort of weapons that help them decimate, and humiliate, the competition. From green and red turtle shells to banana peels and even bolts of lightning, the racers must utilize the entirety of this odd arsenal in order to gain the upper hand in the race, and that includes using the dreaded blue shell.
If it was ever suggested that the devil uses a weapon, I don’t think that it would be a pitchfork or a bow and arrow; no, it would be a blue shell. Nothing ruins friendships faster than having a white-winged and spiked blue shell showing up and ruin one’s momentum in a race. The way the item works is that whenever a racer obtains a blue shell, they can throw it and it will fly to the racer who is in first place and blow them up. There is no exception to the rule. If you are in first place and a racer who is less skilled than you obtains a blue shell, you are going to blow up. Like I said, it is truly sadistic and satanic.
During that day that I mentioned earlier, I felt like life handed me about four separate blue shells. I was doing great and my day was flowing perfectly, and then, WAM, an unfavorable event happened in my life and knocked me back a few spaces. After several hits, I was feeling like I was last place in the race of life long before the day was over. A blue shell kind of day is the worst.
If there was anyone in the Bible who knew what a “blue shell day” felt like, it would have to be the Apostle Paul. Paul knew what it felt like to rise “on the wings of eagles” after delivering the Gospel message to the populace of different cities and having the message received with open arms, only to be thrown in jail or shipwrecked shortly after the victory. Paul recounts this in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 by saying:
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
For being someone who was regarded as the most important evangelist in history, Paul did not seem to live a very comfortable life. With all of the success that Paul had when it came to reaching others and bringing them to the foot of the cross, Paul had suffered greatly because of a “thorn in the flesh,” as well as having to endure countless persecutions. Much like a racer in that Mario Kart series, Paul seemed to catch quite a few blue shells.
None of us should be surprised when we get hit by a blue shell in this life. We live in a fallen world, and as a result of this we have been placed in a position to be pummeled by blue shells. All of this is a result of sin, and that sin has been defeated by the death of Jesus Christ, but the effects of the sin still remain. Christ says, “in this world you will have struggles,” (John 16:33) and those words resonate with a truth that many people refuse to accept. Yeah, we will all have blue shell days, but it is good to remember that some of the greatest leaders who ever lived had those types of days quite often. Keeping strong in the Word and allowing for God to lift you up from the ashes of defeat is the best way to move back into first place.
Everything worked out for me in the end; my car got fixed, and I did not get arrested for breaking into my own house. This just goes to prove that “this too shall pass,” and everything that happens has an expiration point; God will restore you back to where you need to be. If you get hit with a blue shell this week, don’t give up hope, because even I know that a blue shell does not mean that the race is over.