Prayer for the day
Save me, O God, for the waters have risen up to my neck.
Scripture for the day
In our readings today, God is the prime mover, leading both Abram and Jesus into uncomfortable places. Abram is led from his family and home to a place unknown to him, where, as we read later, there is significant famine. Jesus is led from his baptism, a place of what must have been incredible joy (being acknowledged by the Father as the Son and sealed by the descent of the Holy Spirit) into a place of severe discomfort (fasting for forty days and temptation by the devil).
Both men are directed by God to a new place, and both men face adversity in that new place. Much of our lives, particularly in North America, revolves around the seeking out and acquisition of comfortable or comfort-inducing things. We look for ways to make our lives easy, more lavish, more luxurious. We seek for status in things, in places, in people. We sit in the same comfy pew every week and hope for a nice comfy sermon that won’t challenge us. We insist on singing the same comfortable songs and having the same comfortable routines and traditions, not always because they’re good, but because they’re comfortable. And we fool ourselves into believing that comfort is always a sign of the presence of God. Genesis and Matthew are great reminders today that comfort is not a goal, nor a means, most of the time, that is in direct correlation to the leading of God. Comfort is rarely a proof of the presence of God. In fact, we were promised we would be comforted, not comfortable.
In this life, God has many things planned for us. It is our response, like Abram and Jesus before us, to be willing to move into places of discomfort for the sake of the Kingdom of God. God is willing to lead us there and be with us there. Our response is to follow.