It is hard to believe that the next time I post a blog, I will be thirty-one. So, as my daughter used to say, “Happy to me.” Last week, Amy wrote about a birthday letter she wrote one year ago, and how important it is to remember God’s faithfulness. Even when the changes around us scare us, God is not surprised. Just like Amy, my life this year looks very different than it did last year. Last year was hard, and I didn’t like it.
A year ago, I was tired all the time because of the chemo. I was anxious, because I felt like God was calling our family to a different place, but we were not understanding God’s direction. Now, I have completed the chemo, and have moved to a place where I believe we are supposed to be. Our eyes have been opened to some of God’s great work.
Approximately a year ago, I did write a letter to myself. It said:
“Don’t forget that Lazarus had to die to be raised from the dead. Daniel had to be taken to Babylon to be raised up in the kingdom. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had to be in the furnace to realize the presence of God. When life gets hard, He wants to use it for His glory….If you are pursuing comfort, you are not pursuing God.”
Often, during hard times, it is hard to look beyond those difficulties. It is easy to be discouraged. It is easy to be overwhelmed. I am thankful for the many Bible stories where people like Job endure difficult situations. Because of those situations, the person (or people) gain a greater understand of who God is. But often we work extremely hard to avoid situations that encourage us to grow, because it is hard work.
We have inventions to minimize our work. We have dishwashers, washing machines, remotes, openers, and more. Regularly, I or my daughter misplace the TV remote. I watch things I wouldn’t watch just because I don’t want to get up.
I don’t think God has a problem with doing tasks efficiently, but when our focus becomes comfort (or anything other than God, comfort can become a false idol. It keeps us from worshiping the one true God. It keeps us from the abundant life that God has provided us.
As Bob Russell wrote, “If spiritual revival is going to come to the church, Christians need to remember what matters most and rid our lives of anything that matters more than the one true God. Jesus put it succinctly, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).”
If we want spiritual revival, we can’t just run from our problems. We need to embrace them and allow the Lord to use those situations to make us strong from Him.