TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

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I suppose it’s normal for humans to bond so closely to animals. After all, our pets see more of the “real” us than most people do. 

Humans have grown so comfortable around animals that we tend to push the limit at times. Prime example; those humans who think it necessary to come home to the pet leopard everyday. 

Yes, comfortable has often crossed the “out of their mind” line when it comes to certain animals as pets. But I need not fault anyone for their passion for animals. After all, we have a less than normal household ourselves. 

I do, however, take issue with certain animals becoming too comfortable with humans. Dogs? No way. Rabbits? Of course not! Hedgehogs! Uh… Not a chance. 

But it is the others that alarm me. Like the coyote that walks through my yard in the middle of the day. Or the hammer head shark that swims up to my daughter in less than waist deep water. It’s those that remind me that “too close for comfort” is a wise old saying.

On a recent vacation, we stayed at a wonderful condo community. One of the highlights of this location was the fact that it was secluded and surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary. So it was not that surprising when we pulled up and saw two eyes and a scaly head peering out of some swampy water next to the parking lot. What turned out to be a 7 foot alligator just had to be seen more “up close and personal”. 

So, being the adventurous daughter, the curious husband, and the mom who wants to make sure daughter and husband don’t get eaten, we are,…we got out of the car and walked to the water’s edge. Somehow, the fact that we were in a man made condo community made us forget that alligators are faster than humans. 

Upon reaching the water’s edge, Reece yelps as she realizes she was inches from stepping on a baby alligator. It whipped it’s scaly tail through the tall grasses as it, no doubt, went to mommy to tell on us. 

For the remainder of the week, our gator pal could be spotted sunning herself on a bank or secretly peeking at the world from under the water. The staff admitted that they would have to relocate the gator soon. It was becoming too comfortable around humans and they did not want it to go knocking on any doors. 

More often than not, comfortable can pave the way to negative consequences. Like when your husband catches an exotic fish with his bare hands, calls you and your daughter over, and says “pet him…he won’t hurt you…” Then you read the next day that what was actually a puffer fish he had caught is poisonous and contains enough toxin to kill 30 adult humans. Yeah, that kind of negative consequence. 

Scripture warns of the danger of getting too comfortable. It also tells us why we should, instead, rejoice in our discomfort. 

James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers , when you face various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that  you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Finding comfort and rest in the Lord is wonderful and attainable. But being too comfortable and, well, lazy in our walk, can be a stumbling block. It can rob us of divine power and our need to depend on God. It can take a lack of problems and muddle a stress free life into a weak and routine soul who loses sight of true sustenance and provision. 

The early Christians had to rely on God for their every need. Christians in persecuted countries rely on God for their every need. Christians in third world countries rely on God for their every need. Christians in America today do not rely on God enough or, in some cases, at all.

Fast food is not the only place we find artificial comfort in convenience. There are drive through churches promising to assist you in making your Sunday morning routine as convenient as possible. Get up and put on your Sunday best because it’s what you’ve always done. Feel good about yourself because you listened to a sermon and didn’t lip sync the worship songs. Put a few bucks in the offering plate then go back home. Don’t get too involved or someone may ask you to do something like teach a class or feed the hungry. Let the church leaders and missionaries do the dirty work. You have a real life to live don’t you?

Comfort. 

I will admit. I thoroughly dislike stress and hardships. I pray often for escapes from the fire. I would love to wake up each morning with complete assurance that all is well. 

However, it is the hardships that strengthen me. It is the fire that refines me. And my assurance is found only in a risen Savior who has moved the mountains He created to give me eternal rest. 

Read Hebrews 13:14 and see For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

So, what’s a few hammer head sharks, 7 foot alligators, and toxic puffer fish in light of eternity? 

We must not despise our discomforts. Just as importantly, let us not grow lazy in our complacency. 

Don’t get comfortable. We aren’t home yet!

Blessings!

 

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