Today’s challenge is to react to the word: Comfort.
I have a love hate relationship with the word: comfort. The word comfort reminds me of where I live. The reminder of where I live brings to mind questions of my existence. These questions often lead me to the conclusion that I am indeed blessed. You may be wondering, “Then what’s the problem?” Because at the end of the word comfort, guilt lies waiting. Questions that I can’t answer, and feelings of inadequacy.
Even though I have lived in plenty of “uncomfortable” living situations. Comfort is still a luxury that I often take for granted. I know what it’s like to live with no hot water… for months, and what it takes to get food when you don’t have a grocery store, and the extra work that is required to make life work with none of the American amenities. No car, check. No, air conditioning in 100+ temperatures, check. No bed to sleep on, check. Cramming 4 people into a 2 1/2 person backseat in said temperatures, check. Not being able to communicate in a foreign country, while being harassed by foreign men, check. Dressing for winter in the middle of summer because a culture dictates it to be so, check.
I expound on these “discomforts” only out of a desire to convey that I am familiar with discomfort, and that I have witnessed absolute discomfort in other’s lives. Like women who carry water to their plumbingless homes everyday, and children that run around with no shoes, and women who plant grass one-blade- at-a-time bent at the waist, because this is all they know how to do. These are all things that I would consider extremely uncomfortable. However, they are also the memories that remind me that I am indeed blessed beyond words. But this is where I get hung up. I get stuck on the notion that I am so blessed while others are not. I look at my family, my job, my possessions, my opportunities, and it leaves me feeling VERY uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in the midst of comfort.
Then the discomfort turns to guilt, as I begin to ask myself questions, like: Why me? Why was I chosen to be born in America while others were born in Africa? Why was I placed here for such a time as this? AND how do I steward all that God has blessed me with in a manner that is honoring and glorifying to Him? Then I begin to feel inadequate, as I look at all that I have been given and hope that I won’t be like the last man in the “parable of the talents.” Hoping that I invest all that He has given me responsibly and wisely. Praying that He gives me wisdom to use what He has given me to bless others. For to whom much is given much will be required. It makes me glad that I don’t have more!
Then I stop myself. I shake off the guilt. Because I know that guilt is not from the Lord. And I thank Him. I thank Him for blessing me although I don’t understand why. I ask for more wisdom. And I apologize for questioning His sovereignty. Then I look around me and I decide what I can do for today. This one day. How can I use the comforts in my life, not to make others more comfortable, but to bless them. To draw them closer to eternity. For my being blessed truly is a gift, and one that I cannot afford not to share. And these opportunities to share are not often BIG DEALS. GRAND EVENTS. They normally come to us in the form of a homeless man, or a baby that needs extra time in the church nursery, or an elderly widow that needs help with her lawn care. It looks like letting our blessedness flow out in our smiles, and tithing more than 10%, and listening to a wounded soul at inconvenient times. It looks like living to the fullest because we can, and being thankful, and letting that thankfulness turn into joy, and allowing that joy to impact the lives around us.
Sometimes I need that reminder. Because sometimes, “comfort”, can become a little too uncomfortable for me.