I love Chinese food, and my favorite part of the meal is the fortune cookie! There’s nothing like the anticipation of seeing what that little slip of paper will say! Now, I don’t really take those things to heart – I know it’s all in fun - but I did receive one recently that made me pause and think. Tiny red letters, neatly printed in all caps said:
“YOU WILL HAVE A COMFORTABLE LIFE”
Most people might give a little grin, maybe shrug their shoulders with a sigh, and then that little piece of paper would go directly into the trash and be forgotten. But the first thing that came into my mind was…
Is that what I want?
Ok, I know…I know. It was probably just saying that I would have a pleasant life and not have to work so hard all the time. A smooth road ahead. But something in my head associates the word comfortable with complacent.
After all, once we get comfortable, aren’t we tempted to stay right there? Don’t rock the boat. Don’t step outside our little zone where everything is nice and tidy.
And if I’m “comfortable”, am I truly living as a Christ-follower? The Bible is very clear that the life of a Christian is very often far from easy or trouble-free.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
~~1 Peter 5:10
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
~~1 Peter 4:12
I think I’m uncomfortable with being comfortable. If I’m comfortable I’m not moving anywhere. If I’m not moving, I’m not growing. If I’m not growing, I am becoming stagnant.
And God warns us in His word about that as well.
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing for one struggle after another just so that I’m always on my toes. Not at all – I don’t have any desire to always be climbing uphill. Life’s plateaus (and even the valleys) offer reprieve from the climb.
Growth comes out of God stretching me beyond my comfort zones. These are the times when I see His mighty hand at work. These are the times that I am most keenly aware of His presence.
Being uncomfortable causes me to stir…it causes me to seek a better place, a better way.
...but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance...
I’ve kept that little piece of paper in my purse, and I pull it out every now and then to remind myself of all of this. I think maybe I’ll re-write this “unfortunate fortune” – I think I want it to say…
“YOU WILL HAVE A JOYFUL LIFE”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”