Look around you: Everything you see is God’s—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that’s you!—out of all the other peoples. That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, your God, is the God of all gods, he’s the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:14-18 (The Message)
I heard a woman talking about her faith journey recently. She spoke of all the things, religions and directions she experimented with until she ended up back where she started. In the church. Believing in and trusting in her Heavenly Father. There was only one comment that gave my heart pause. She mentioned that she came back because it was comfortable, she felt welcome and at home. It was easy. Don’t get me wrong. We all want to feel welcome in our church, amongst other believers. And we certainly want others to feel welcome in our houses of worship. That is vital to our continued growth as Christians as we take this journey of faith. But, I wanted to stop her – to interrupt and say, “Following Christ isn’t always comfortable. It’s hard. It takes guts and sometimes it hurts. It’s tough in these sinful human bodies we walk around in, but it isn’t supposed to be easy.”
“Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this. Luke 6:22-23 (The Message)
Yes, we find peace, sustenance, comfort and love through His Living word and a deep relationship with Him, but loving as Christ did when He walked this earth takes prayer, discipline, self-sacrifice. So, comfortable and welcome is good, but I’ve found it’s in the uncomfortable that I grow the most. Grow stronger in my faith, stronger in my love for the Lord, and stronger in my trust of His laws and plan. Jesus promised trials, temptations and uncomfortable times. The question is, what will we do with them? Will we run? Pretend it isn’t happening? Buckle under the pressures of the world and follow the path most taken? Or will we praise God for the opportunity to show others the strength, peace and blessings only God can offer in the midst of our darkest hour? I don’t know. I pray that I will always go through the gate few enter. The gate to Jesus. I pray I will always have the courage and strength to stand up for God’s Word as I try to live with it as my foundation in every aspect of my life. Knowing I will sometimes fail, but praying God continues to show me mercy and grace through making the uncomfortable – comfortable. And I pray these same things for you. Blessings.
He said to his disciples, “Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time! “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it. Luke 17:1-6 (The Message)