I love my creature comforts.
- Seat warmers in my truck on cold warmings. (My wife and I refer to them as rear defrosters.)
- A TV remote that spares me the burden of walking ten feet to change the channel.
- Central heat and air.
- Appropriate clothes for cold weather and appropriate clothes for when it’s hot.
- A fully-charged iPad for early morning reading with a hot cup of dark roast coffee.
I could go on and on listing things that make my life comfortable, and I’m sure you could create an equally long list of things that define comfort for you. Admittedly, my lifestyle is such that I tend to take these creature comforts for granted. I’m only keenly aware of them when they’re not there.
Last week, we lost our power due to the extremely cold weather. It was quite early in the morning, and no one was awake but me. Thankfully, my coffee in its insulated cup was already in hand, but I had to read in the dark. OK, so I could read from the light of my iPad, but still life was hard! Why? Without the central heat on, I was starting to get uncomfortable. Never mind that I could grab a blanket and bundle up like some primitive … oh, wait, the power just came back on. Crisis averted.
As Americans, we have made a god of comfort. Look at the ads that appear on TV or your social media feed. They cater to our desire for ease. Don’t misunderstand my point. I also love being comfortable, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with seeking those things that make life easier and more comfortable. But I’m bothered with the obsession I see of avoiding anything that might make us uncomfortable.
Ever seen someone refuse to eat what’s in front of him because the food’s temperature was not to his liking? Or how about the person who sits for 20 minutes in a car idling with the AC blowing while their spouse shops? You may think I’m being petty but consider how we fuss and complain if we’re inconvenienced in the slightest. Don’t make me uncomfortable! Don’t inconvenience me!
Yes, we have made a god of our comfort.
God’s desire is not to give you a life of comfort; He desires to be your comfort.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
It is clear in this passage that God does not promise to remove our afflictions. Many times, He mercifully does, but there’s no guarantee. What is promised is that “He comforts us in all our affliction.” That is the greater gift: God Himself walking with us!
But if God loves me, wouldn’t He want to make my life easy and comfortable?
God wants us to find our joy in Him, not in a life of ease and comfort. This life is short and transitory, and those things we crave and rely on for our comfort are equally transitory. They will not last—but God’s presence will. There will come a day in His eternal kingdom when we will be free from all affliction. There will be unending joy and comfort with Christ in His kingdom, but for now He wants us to learn that it is Him—His loving, comforting presence—that we truly need.
Consider the example from Israel’s history. God desired to be the One the nation of Israel looked to. He provided for them, but they began to look to what God provided rather than God Himself.
“I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied, and their hearts became proud” Hosea 13:5-6).
May we not become so dependent on those things that make life easy that we forget God. God often allows difficulty and affliction into our lives to draw us back to Him. It’s in that moment, as you endure the affliction, that you realize that what you need is God. And He is right there with you. We love comfort, but the greater blessing is walking with God even in hardship. So instead of making comfort our god, let’s walk with the God of all comfort.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
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