Your new sofa, car, shoes… a key selling point is “comfort”. Is this how we promote following Jesus? If it is, then we bought into some false advertising! A couple of days ago we passed an unusual sight here, a cross. There are not many churches, but there are some for the people in this country. This particular cross had sharp barbs out of it to keep birds from nesting in it. What a great picture of the cross — uncomfortable, scary looking! If it wasn’t comfortable for Jesus, why are we surprised when it is uncomfortable for us? Jesus says that if we want to follow him that we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

In moments of intimacy with God, it is easier to profess the bold statements like “I’ll go anywhere and do anything” and we don’t mean them any less when the rubber meets the road but the reality is a lot less glamorous. It is embarrassing to admit the struggle I have had with no electricity the past 2 days. Yesterday was 12 hours and today was 6. We do try and leave the house some, but it is a challenge. Not only is it incredibly hot, but the neighbors across the street run a generator that makes it sound like a 747 is constantly taking off and landing across the road! My 2 little ones also decided to repaint the bathroom today in the various shades of pink and red nail polish. Yep, that little “splash” of color has completely changed the look of the bathroom. My 3 year old was determined that she was not guilty — she only took off the caps you know (it was apparently too difficult for her 2 year old brother), she didn’t help paint. Lots of “life” happens under our roof and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Life takes its toll, but, to be vulnerable, it was the lack of electricity today that brought out all my ugly. What does it come down to? In a very practical way, my cross was uncomfortable. Can we call this a cross? Human suffering is so great, this is certain. I was not suffering, I was just plain inconvenienced and uncomfortable. I think that in the day to day living — right where the Lord has you and me, we’ve a cross to bear. Sometimes we lay it down and other times it seems like we collapse beneath the weight of it. For me today, it was just plain uncomfortable and I admit my response was less than Christ-like. Thoughts of who we are under pressure being our defining moments race through my mind and I am reminded that this same uncomfortable cross is also one where I receive unmerited grace.

Today I am writing to myself. Challenged to bear anything with grace in His strength for His glory, better tomorrow than I did today. Encouraged to remember that His grace covers me and that His power will be perfected in my weakness. One day at a time, with or without electricity, for unlike the sofa, car or shoes, I was not created for comfort. Let us deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.

By Natalie Overturf

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1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

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