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  • joeyredhead

Divine Discomfort

There are things in this life that I like, and things that I don’t. Things that I like include my bed. Things that I don’t like include getting out of my bed in the morning. I find this task surprisingly difficult. It’s particularly hard in the winter when it’s unpleasantly cold outside of my bed, but even when that’s not the case it’s still hard because my bed is just so comfortable! In fact, it often (particularly on my day off) requires a degree of discomfort to enter the equation to rouse me from my slumber and move me from my stasis. This may be the horrible blaring of my alarm, the rumble in my tummy, or the need to use the bathroom.

It's not just when it comes to sleep that I seek to be comfortable. I consciously or otherwise desire comfort in all areas of my life. Whether it’s my work life, or homelife, shopping from the comfort of my sofa or being able to find out anything anywhere, or simply not having to stress when I look at my bank balance. And I don’t think that’s it’s particularly wrong to want these things. And yet I notice as with when I’m lying awake in my bed in the morning, how hard it is to make a change when everything is comfortable, and life is easy. So often I complain to God about life not being as easy and straightforward and comfortable as it could be. Yet now I wonder how different I might be if life had always been comfortable. In what areas of my character would I have not grown, what blessings have I received that I would have missed if life was straight forward?

I was recently asked by a member of the youth at the lounge what fasting was. I explained that it was when someone gave up something (often but not always food) for a certain length of time. They then asked me why on earth anyone would want to do that. That was harder to answer. I explained that fasting created a bit of extra space in our lives for God and that the discomfort we felt brought us closer to God as we relied on Him to sustain us as we missed what it was that we were fasting from. “okay” they replied, with an expression on their face which indicated that they understanded all the words but couldn’t begin to understand the concept and quite frankly didn’t want to.

As I explained, I realised how crazy it must sound in a world that teaches to seek our own comfort first above all else, and which gets endlessly frustrated with minor inconveniences like being stuck in traffic or waiting in a queue in a shop. Then I realised how even more ridiculous it was that I lived with one foot in both of these worlds. I will choose to inconvenience myself to come closer to God and then get frustrated with the extra time I have in my life because of a traffic jam. Perhaps I need to learn to see these things as gifts not frustrations, as life appointed mini-fasts. I wonder what a difference it might make to me if next time I’m stuck in a queue, rather than getting frustrated that I’ll be ten minutes late to the next thing I have to do, I spend ten minutes spending time with God and learning to see the world through His eyes.

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