By Amy Dalke
I can’t find that verse in the Bible that talks about how God’s aim is to make us comfortable.
I’m pretty sure it’s either hidden somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers, or it’s just absent altogether.
Which really irks me. Because, hello, I WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE.
It seems that life could just be easier if God had included a cut-and-paste function in the Bible. You know, because there are so many parts I prefer to slip under the rug.
All the verses that talk about God’s awesome plans for me would go in the “save” pile.
Then I would probably dump a few of those that talk about love not being selfish.
I would also shave out anything that connects our growth to pain, and all the concepts relating loss to gain.
Pastor Ben said something in his sermon this morning that has been reverberating in my head all afternoon. He said, “our appetites will tempt us to trade in our calling for the sake of our comfort.”
I just do not like those words one bit.
(In my little fantasy game of Holy Cut and Paste, this is a biblical concept I would toss altogether.)
Because, hello, I WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE.
Then it occurred to me.
If we’re cutting out the concept of human discomfort, we would need to throw out several chapters in God’s story.
Noah’s lines would be edited out.
Abraham’s story would be ejected. After all, his story has like 8 layers of discomfort. He left the life he knew, to follow a plan he knew nothing about. (This has got to be a no-brainer cut.)
Joseph would have to go. His story of slavery and imprisonment is sort of a downer.
Job. (Yeah, all of it.)
Esther would make an exit, too.
Moses. For crying out loud, he lived decades of discomfort. In a desert. With whiney, stubborn people. (This must be what pastors feel like.)
No one likes to suffer. If we could, we’d all walk through life skipping and eating ice cream cones. Every day can’t be all good times and delicious desserts, though, and the early Christians knew this first hand. Throughout Acts, they are attacked, beaten, imprisoned, and sometimes killed for saying (really loudly) that Jesus is Lord. It…got people thinking. This Jesus guy must be pretty darn awesome if people are willing to die for him, right?*
Ruth, gone. (Her drama starts with the death of 3 people, and it gets worse from there.)
Pretty much all the Prophets would need to go, including: Habbukuk, Jeremiah, Amos. (A depressing lot, they tended to be.)
Mary and Joseph. (So many unsettling parts of their story: travel by camel. During pregnancy. During a scandalous pregnancy. Yep. They’re out of here.)
The Apostle Paul, along with 90% of his letters, wouldn’t make the final cut either. (Which basically means a mega chunk of the New Testament would not hold up to the I WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE campaign.)
John the Baptist. Delete. (Losing one’s head couldn’t have been the most awesome thing ever.)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Also gone. (I know they lived through it and all, but you can’t tell me it wasn’t slightly discomforting to think you might literally burn to a crisp.)
And, Jesus. The epitome of suffering and discomfort. Yes, Jesus has to go, too.
I’m pretty sure if we remove ALL the places where human beings faced discomfort for the sake of God’s greater story…there wouldn’t be anything left except a verse or two in the Psalms. (And all the verses pre-Adam & Eve.)
This serves to confirm that a Discomfort Escape Clause likely does not exist. It’s also a strong indicator that life is not about our happiness, pleasure, and ease.
What if God wants to use your current discomfort to shape you into something more awesome?
Would it be worth it?
I don’t know. Ask all those guys we eliminated (above) because of their earthly suffering. They just might tell us that comfort is totally overrated.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
*quote taken from shmoop.com