Daily Devotions

Comfort can be Uncomfortable

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Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (Genesis 12:1)

The vast majority of us have been raised to “be comfortable.” Previous generations worked diligently to make comfort a possibility. We have comfort in the form of medical advancements. Even 50 years ago, cancer was a death sentence. Other physical ailments were extremely uncomfortable, with little hope of relief. With the advent of new medical discoveries, we are now able to keep discomfort at bay in ways previously unknown.

Computer technology has transformed our level of comfort in just the last few years. I want to hear a rare classical piece of music; all I have to do is ask “Alexa” to play it and it almost magically starts. One no longer needs to go to the store. I can have groceries, books, clothing, or just about anything else delivered to my door, without the discomfort of having to drive or even interact with other humans.

Niklas Goke, in his article, “4 Reasons You Don’t Have the Life You Want,” correctly points out, “If you’re not willing to eat a carrot, you’ll never get used to a better diet. If you’re not willing to do one pushup, you’ll never feel strong. If you’re not willing to ask for a date, you’ll never have a loving relationship.” Goke continues, “Most of all, if you’re not willing to feel uncomfortable, you’ll never be happy — because discomfort is part of the formula for happiness.”

We do not need to feel discomfort all the time. That is debilitating. But, when comfort is our primary goal, we miss out on the joys of life. God continually took people out of their comfort zone in order for each one to experience a more-fulfilling life. Abram and Sarai were an older, wealthy, childless couple, and God promised them a more fulfilling life, if they would leave their comfort and set out on a journey of God’s leading. We know their lives were fulfilled because they left their comfort and ventured out in faith. Where is the need for comfort keeping you from experiencing Divine joy and meaning? Answer that question, and you will begin your own journey of life eternal.

The Mighty Willow?!

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Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually. (1 Chronicles 16:11)

Acceptance is a key to spiritual fulfillment. Yet we fight the world’s unfairness and disappointments as if it were a personal affront. Jesus didn’t have a fair life. I’d venture to guess not a single Biblical character had it easy. The 1970’s martial arts star, Bruce Lee, shared a profound statement, “Notice the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survive by bending with the wind.” How do we find acceptance necessary for a mature faith that does not break?

Buddhists have often done a better job facing acceptance than Christians. We can learn from our Buddhist sisters and brothers that all things are illusory. Niklas Goke, in his article, “All Suffering Is Desiring or Resisting Change,” describes the way to acceptance. “This isn’t to say you’ll always accept easily and move on quickly. It’s to say you can learn to always do both eventually. Accept life’s permanent impermanence and odd timing of uncomfortable change, and suffering disappears.

We tend to focus so much on unfairness and our limitations, we fail to recognize that most of life’s hassles aren’t that important anyway. Our focus shouldn’t be entirely on the short term. We are called, as Christians, to a long-term vision. Life isn’t impermanent, but most of life’s challenges are impermanent. God’s Divine gift of eternal life causes us to focus on the bigger picture and the greater blessing.

Today, prayerfully think about where you place your focus and energy. Each one of us spends too much time obsessed with the impermanent. Life is full of distractions, and it is a Christian’s constant challenge to remain vigilant, focusing back on the Divine. For this time is but a second in comparison to the greater glory of God’s eternity. Accepting the unfairness of this second of time in eternity is a step in the process of Divine maturity. The oak isn’t that mighty, the willow has the power. Each of us will bend, but we do not have to break.

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