Once upon a mattress...
My husband drove into the driveway and unloaded a nice new mattress and box springs from Sams Club. As my hands brushed across our brand new cotton ball pillow top mattress I thought, “How wonderful that I no longer have to sleep in a tiny bed with my husband’s elbow in my face every night!” Bless his heart, he really does try to stay on his side of the bed. Anyway, we removed the sateen hunter green 500 thread count sheets from the Wal-Mart packaging, washed them on the quick cycle and placed them over the mattress. That night as I climbed into bed and settled in, I noticed that the brand new Wal-Mart sheets were not so comfy after all. They smelled like sweet lilies thanks to Downy and her dryer sheets, they shimmered and shined and looked really expensive, soft and comfortable… so why did the sheets feel so prickly against my not so clean shaven legs? I tossed and turned all night thanks to Wal-Mart’s roll back blue light special sheets! The next day I snubbed my nose at the Wal-Mart sheets and decided to make a mad dash into Target to purchase softer sheets I thought would make me more comfortable. I was willing to do anything, pay anything to make my next night’s sleep new and improved.
The median household income in the United States is $46,326 per year. I would guess that most of our income goes toward making ourselves more comfortable and more entertained. Have you ever donated money to a third world country and on the form it says “check this box and for $11.00 an entire village could be fed?” I know I am always skeptical because I think there is no possible way that a person could stretch $11 that far. Why is that? It is because we have so much that to us $11 is not a big deal. Even if you don’t think you have enough, compared to people around the world, you have more than you need.
The other night as I laid in my 5 times washed now comfy hunter green Wal-Mart sheets, I began thinking of how spoiled I am that I even have a bed much less one that is comfortable. My eyes scanned across my bedroom as I processed all the comforts of my home. What do I have that I probably take for granted everyday? A nice T.V. to watch whenever and whatever I please, a shower that sprays water not too hard but not too soft so that I can always be clean, and a home to keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
I am not saying we should feel guilty for having these “things,” but I began to think of what Jesus promised the disciples. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would come to them as a comforter. My question to you is why would we need a comforter when we already live so comfortably? I mean, would you actually pray a prayer like this to God? "Lord, will you please make me as uncomfortable as possible today, if it means bringing me closer to you?"
My next question is, if Jesus were standing on a mountain and all the comforts of the world were on a hill, which would you prefer to climb? If Jesus held out his hand and said, “I want you to follow me and I will give you eternal life. Let me warn you first that should you choose to follow me, it will not be easy. If you follow me I may ask you to sleep in the desert without a roof over your head; we may not always have food to eat, water to drink; you will probably walk around for months without being able to bathe; you may have to give up everything you own, and I may ask you to be crucified with me… will you come follow me?” What would you say? There is a part of me that thinks those Wal-Mart sheets might not be so bad after all!
Remember when the Bible tells the story in Acts 7 of the stoning of Stephen? Stephen gave up everything to follow his Jesus, including his own life. Jesus showed up in Stephen’s biggest time of need. Stephen was in the most uncomfortable of situations but the "comforter" showed up! In the heat of the moment, when the angry mob began to stone Stephen, He saw Jesus! “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56). He yelled at the mob, you can throw your rocks at me, I don’t even care because I see Jesus!
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that the times I experienced God like never before were times when I felt scared because I was so far out of my comfort zone that God had to show up or I would have fallen flat on my face! They were the situations, I couldn’t manipulate in my own strength. They were the times in my life that couldn’t be explained without the presence of the Holy Spirit. They were the times, I relied on nothing but God’s direction and comfort. The Holy Spirit will ask you to do things you might not normally do; ask you to go places you might not normally go…but the great news is that during those times you will see and feel the hand of Jesus like never before. He is worth it! Following Him no matter the cost, is worth it!