I now laugh when I think back to statements I made to my wife in the waning months of 2019. “I am believing for a great year ahead” I said with a sparkle in my eye.
After all, I was looking ahead with 2020 vision and using the metaphor to its ultimate capacity. I was hoping for a year of certainty, growth and contentment. I had no idea what the new year would actually bring. Now, with 20/20 hindsight, the real lessons have become clearer.
First of all, here is a tried and true statement: It is both easy and dangerous to get comfortable in our lives. It is in our human nature to want consistency and ease. We love it when things are going in “the right direction.”
When our retirement fund, our job performance and our social lives are all just like we like them, it is easy to want to hit the pause button and stay right on that track. Why? Because we just found the state of comfortability, and we want to live in it. We don’t want this season to go away.
And, like the rich man in Luke 12, it is easy to surmise that now, we have no worries, that our barns are full and it is time to “eat, drink and be merry.” But that Bible story teaches us not to presume in such a haughty manner.
Early in the 80s, I heard a pastor say something that I have never forgotten, and it has been one of those bits of wisdom that I rehearse as often as I can. He said, “Don’t think that it is safe to coast in life…’cause the only time anyone coasts is when they are on a downward slope.”
That, my friends, is a statement you can rely on. Pastor Paul Blair said something recently that goes right along with all of this, as he gave a four-phrase illustration of the danger in wanting to live in comfort. “Weak men produce weak times. Weak times produce good men. Good men produce good times. Good times produce weak men.”
It would be nice if we could all live in comfort, having what we need, watching our bank accounts grow, and prospering in both soul and life. But life doesn’t tend to allow that for long.
2020 brought a resounding snap to our lives, shaking us all out of our comfortabilities. But much good can be found in the midst of this course correction. Borrowing once more from our vision chart perspective, we can begin to see things more rightly, with more clarity, if our eyes are off our comfort and upon God’s will.
Even such difficult times as what we have gone through can bring a profound sense of gratefulness for the blessings that remain. Those “weak” times will tend to drive many to what is right and true. And good growth will emerge.
In Proverbs 3:5-6, the Bible encourages us to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and to not lean on our own understanding. As we acknowledge Him, the Lord will direct our paths. And that is the best news that anyone can hope for.