Cherished Discomfort

I had to throw on a hoodie to sit on the porch this morning.

The air is cool and breezy, cool enough that I had to have a soft, warm wrapper.

It’s just a little too cool to sit here without it. It’s a delightful thing, isn’t it? I’ve noticed many folks on social media decrying the temperatures hanging in the nineties even though the calendar tells us it is fall. Many have been longing for that first real break in the heat that tells us fall is really here. And now we have it.

You see, though it prompts a discomfort when we step out and realize we’re going to need that hoodie or jacket, it is, for many, a cherished discomfort. Just like some cherish that discomfort in the spring that says it’s just too warm for long pants and we need to get the shorts out of winter storage (which in our neck of the woods often happens in late February—not counting the college campuses which, it seems to me, happens about noon regardless of the season).

It’s funny to me how we react to the changes that move us from season to season with pleasure, even longing for the discomfort that makes us change our practice and put the appropriate garments to use. And yet, when life presents us with circumstances that sting or ache or make us uncomfortable, we loathe the very things that drive us to God in dependence. The discomfort that makes us reach for a blanket or a hoodie is cherished. The discomfort that moves us to cling to Jesus is despised.

Is it just that we’re petty and silly and shallow? Could it really be that we’re so petulant and self-concerned that we only cherish the discomfort that we can quickly and easily address by our own power and despise that which we have no ability to resolve?

Surely not…

What’s our problem here, really?

I think it’s a lack of perspective.

When we really think about it, we know that growing only happens through discomfort. Whether in the gym or through the operating room or in the classroom, growth comes through the uncomfortable process of pushing, reaching, cutting, repairing.

Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth this powerful truth:

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4.17-18)

2 Corinthians 4.17-18

The discomforts of this life, though at times very significant and even severe, are all, in the light of eternity, light and momentary. That is to say that they are temporary. And, in comparison to the glory in store, they are light. The far more weighty, more substantial, more significant glory of God in which we have been invited to partake is, as Paul wrote, “beyond all comparison.

I’m not saying that life isn’t painful. That’s not true. It is painful. This world and everyone in it are broken, flawed, and fractured. But this world with all of its discomfort is NOT the end of the story.

There is something far, far greater ahead for all who have answered His call to walk in a new life with Him.

I’m not suggesting we celebrate the pain we experience.

I am simply suggesting we learn to cherish the discomfort that drives us to the waiting arms of our Father.

Father, teach me to appreciate the cherished discomfort that draws me to You.

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