Comfort Comes Through Crockpots

crockpot comfortThe road to comfort is often paved with difficulty.  

We often forget that part. But the word itself even implies it. If something is comforting, it’s because something happened to us, and we needed to be comforted. Comfort is a word spelled with the letters of longing and need.

 

Comfort does not come easy.

 

Even the meals that are our comfort foods are often the ones that cook and simmer all day long before their flavors reach our mouths.

 

The relationships we are most comfortable with? They usually have gone through many uncomfortable and frustrating moments to get to that place. We worked through them, and built trust, and now we feel, on a different level than before, that we are known.

 

Because in the end what comforts us most is the feeling we are cared about. And care does not come through quick fixes and easy answers. Comfort comes slowly, through crockpots more than microwave ovens.

 

Most of all, comfort is found in our patient God, who is slow to anger, quick to love. Who sits with us in our discomfort and comforts us with His presence to us through all the days of our lives.

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An practice of freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today’s prompt was: COMFORT. (Full disclosure: I write the post in 5 minutes, but I take a little extra time to find and create a graphic to go with it. I think that's still okay according to the rules...)

Wonder: We Still Wait

It makes me uncomfortable to talk about the second coming of Christ. I mean, on the one hand, it makes sense. If God began His redemption plan in Jesus, certainly He would complete it through the same Savior.

But on the other hand, we live in a world filled with so much hatred and greed and poverty and corruption.  I want to know why God chose to work the way He did. Why didn’t He just save us all at once? Why didn’t the coming of Jesus to earth as a human bring peace, hope, joy, and perfection once and for all?

Sometimes, I don’t understand God’s plan.

These kinds of questions are not new. In fact, they echo what many were wondering before Christ came the first time.

In between the books of Malachi and Matthew in our Bibles, there is just one page that says “New Testament.” That simple page represents 400 years of silence. 400 years without prophets encouraging the people that the promises of Yahweh would be fulfilled some day. And at the same time as the silence, Israel faced oppression. They were ruled by Rome. The supposed chosen nation of God was not independent.

I can hear that deep, difficult question rumbling through the people of Israel as they went about their daily lives. “Where are you, God?"

It was in the midst of this question that Jesus was born. And when He came, so many people in Israel missed it. They stopped waiting and they missed celebrating Love come to earth in the flesh.

Many gave up on waiting because the timing just seemed so outrageous to them. Why so long, God?  Why, 1000 years after the reign of King David, have you still not sent the Messiah?

Because in God’s sovereign, wise, and impeccable plan, this was perfect timing.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. – Luke 2:1-4

Even in these few verses in the beginning of Luke 2, God shows us that Jesus’ birth happened at the exact right time. The prophets foretold that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene, but be born in Bethlehem. God used a census, and the fulfillment of another prophecy that the Messiah would be from the line of David, to bring these complicated facets together.

The timing of Jesus birth was exactly perfect for every prophecy to be fulfilled and every hope to be realized.  And not just the hope of Israel, but the hope of the world. The fact that Israel was ruled by Rome did not mean Israel was forgotten, but that the conditions were perfectly right for the news of Jesus to spread to the nations.

Now we, people from one of those other nations, are people living in waiting once again. It’s been more than 2000 years since Christ came. The Bible says He will come again to make all things right. Though that promise is meant to give us hope, it may also fill us with “why so long?” questions.

The Advent season is here to remind us to not give up on waiting.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:8-9

Yes, this world is still in need of its ultimate rescue. And we yearn for that day. But we can have hope that once again God’s timing will be perfect. God is not slow because He forgot, but because He wants more people to hear His message. The message that Christ, His Son, came to earth. That through His birth, life, death, and resurrection, He brought hope to the world. That through Him we have grace, the forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and the promise of everlasting life.

In this Advent season, as we wait, let’s share that message. Let’s remind people what we really celebrate at Christmas. The birth of our Savior.

 

Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.

Learning We Can't Shortcut the Process

My impatience has been building.  

I’m done, so done, with feeling new. I’m tired of standing knee deep in the muck of transition, trudging along to get to the place of settled. I want to be there now. I want to feel established and knowledgeable and connected.

 

When in the world will I arrive?

 

I expected to be there already. In the past few months, we moved to a new state, we moved again to a new house, my husband started a new job, my son started kindergarten, and I started a new job. Sure, that’s a lot of changes, but they are done now. We are here, in our new routine. I thought it would be simple, like walking through a hallway, opening a new door, and sitting down at a new table.

 

That’s not what it’s like at all. This change is not a hallway. It’s a path of muck. The transition through new is not quick or easy. It is a messy and laborious journey.

 

The feeling of impatience that is pushing at my insides reveals how much I have been influenced by our culture. Everything around me is instant. We DVR television shows so we can watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it. We put things on credit so we can buy them right away without having to verify that they are in the budget. We get updates on friends from social media so we don’t have to wait until we see them to find out what they’ve been doing. We pick up our food from the grocery store so we don’t have to go through the time or toil required to grow it ourselves.

 

We shortcut the process on just about everything.

 

No matter how much around us has been streamlined and shrink-wrapped into tidiness, we cannot shortcut the process of life. The human heart is a complicated emotional organism that cannot be controlled. And despite our efforts to the contrary, we will never be sovereign over how our life turns out.

 

Until we submit to the God who values process, we will only make our journey more difficult.

 

Throughout the Bible, I see verses about patience and perseverance and trust as we walk through life by faith. I don’t see anything that promises us a feeling of settled.

 

I wonder if this feeling of settled I long for doesn’t indicate that I’ve arrived as much as it means I’ve forgotten. This life is not all there is. I will never arrive. And with eternal perspective and God’s priorities, what is being done in me is often more important than what I am getting done. I cannot and should not shortcut the process.

 

This season may be difficult for my heart but it is healthy for my faith. Impatience makes my heart hungry and draws me to the Bread of Life.

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