In 2007-2008, I prayed that the Lord would make me uncomfortable.
You probably think that I’m crazy when I say that. And you’ll probably think I’m even crazier when I say that it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.
I had been stagnant, needing and wanting growth. As I was reading and praying one day I began to realize that the biblical examples of spiritual growth and maturity are never accompanied by easy times. Never. Each of those people had to endure hardships, challenges, and sometimes suffering; yet, at the end of those times they were even more like Jesus and displayed much more wisdom, kindness, and peace as they continued to fulfill God’s plan for their lives.
If I wanted growth, I had to be uncomfortable.
So, I asked for it. And God delivered. Parts of that year were rough, but I do not regret it one bit. My life would look completely different had I not prayed that prayer.
It was that prayer that led me to Pennsylvania, which led me to Brennan, which brought me my three children, as one example.
Discomfort led to joy, clarity, and peace.
I was thinking about this a few days ago as I considered the division in our families, churches, and nation. It’s really uncomfortable right now. It’s challenging to see how we will ever get through all of this and be united as Americans. Members of each political party wonder how we will survive if the other party’s candidate becomes president (spoiler alert: it will be just fine – God’s in charge. Read Romans 13, for example.).
And yet, I think we needed this.
I think we as a country, and as the Church, needed some strife, some discomfort, some shaking up. We weren’t doing a great job of loving our neighbors or our enemies.
And, if we move forward wisely, if we choose to learn and grow rather than continue to fight and divide, this pandemic-filled, tension-ridden, politically crazy year could very well be the best thing to happen in our lifetime. This may lead to a more beautiful, loving country – and Church -than we have seen before.
It starts with us. Each of us. What we choose do and say to those who disagree with us – even before the results come in – will have a greater impact on the future than who becomes president. We have an opportunity to say “enough is enough” and build a bridge over the vast canyons that separate us. Will we decide to work through this?
We are commanded to love our neighbors – even the ones we didn’t or wouldn’t choose. Are you doing that well? God requires us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). Are you living out those values? Am I? Are you living with a growth-mindset or do you refuse to acknowledge different perspectives in an effort to learn from them?
Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Ask God to work in and through the discomfort to bring healing, growth, peace, whatever it is you need. Humble yourself and reach out to loved ones with whom you disagree politically today and try to make amends. Do whatever needs to be done to bring a little more peace and love to our broken nation. We need it.