The idolatry of comfort & looking forward to grace in the future
This is a bona fide (but hopeful) post.
Some good reminders ^^(my heart needs them too!) about to be mailed.
I've been mulling a lot over much of what you're about to read for some time now. God's made it clear to me that I have a fierce tendency to idolize my comfort. I generally consider myself not very materialistic (I say things like "we just got rid of so many things when we moved,") but I find myself, time and time again, looking for comfort in things of this world. Maybe not "items," but things of this world nonetheless: relationships, community, a good job...you name it, I've craved and sought after it far more than I seek God's purposes for my life.
And now, I'm realizing how I've idolized the comfort of familiar community and a feeling of "home." Aspects of this move have been difficult (but who am I kidding if I didn't expect a cross-country move to have its occasional difficulties?) The four of us were talking about the concept of "home" the other day. If I'm feeling a little down, it's usually because I'm "homesick." But what does that really mean? In a lot of ways, no one place truly feels like "home" right now. Austin is beginning to fit that description, but it's a work-in-progress. We love our parents' homes in NW Indiana and Minnesota, but in some ways those aren't really home either (although they will always be some of our favorite, most comfortable places).
I've been catching myself thinking back to "better times" or times when God was "more faithful." In our current, sometimes challenging, everything-is-new setting, it seems almost grateful and righteous to look back on what God has done for us in the past (and it is, as long as you have a right heart-attitude about it). Look back, acknowledge His awesome work in your life in the past, but then look forward. Don't leave God in your past (not that we can keep Him there even if we try).
The Lord has a way of firmly imprinting lessons I need to learn (and this ^ is something I need to learn) through repetition in what I read in His word/in devotionals/what I hear at church. I read this, "The Different Tenses of Grace," by John Piper. (Find the full entry here)
Therefore this grace which moves in power from God to you at a point in time is both past and future. It has already done something for you or in you and therefore is past. And it is about to do something in you and for you, and so it is future —both five seconds away and five million years away.
As if that above ^^ weren't clear enough, I also read this from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening:
Numbers of Christians can view the past with pleasure, but regard the present with dissatisfaction; they look back upon the days which they have passed in community with the Lord as being the sweetest and the best they have ever known , but as to the present, it is clad in a sable garb of gloom and dreariness. Once they lived near to Jesus, but now they feel that they have wandered from him, and they say, 'O that I were as in months past!' [...] Christian, if you are not now as you 'were i months past,' do not rest satisfied with wishing for a return of former happiness, but go at once to seek your Master [...] ask his grace and strength to help you walk more closely with him [...] do not sit down to sigh and lament; while the beloved Physician lives there is hope , nay there is a certainty of recovery for the worst cases.
Seek joy, seek joy, seek joy in the events of the past and the present. Yes, that's a commandment. But also, pray (and look!) for future grace and future joy. In the words of my journal entry recently:
There are future (and better and greater) joys for me ahead. The past displays His faithfulness (oh, how it does!), but there is more to come. He is not done yet .
I'm praying this message will be written on my heart, and that this place—which He prepared for us—will become more of a home and that He will nurture future community. Because the character of God is steadfast. He does not stop being faithful just because we forget all his grace and faithfulness that is yet to come.
P.S.— Speaking of future grace, I got an RN position at a local Austin hospital! Starting September 22 :)