Faith, hope and love

The Tatura Guardian - - News - — Brian Spencer, Min­is­ter, Tatura Unit­ing Church

As much as I en­joy trav­el­ling, see­ing new places and vis­it­ing friends, I just wish I could take my own bed with me.

I can’t be­lieve how much dif­fer­ence it makes sleep­ing in my own bed.

No mat­ter how nice the ho­tel is, the beds in ho­tels are al­ways too soft or too firm, the pil­lows are al­ways too thick and I wake up hav­ing slept poorly.

It’s not nec­es­sar­ily the soft­ness of the sheet or weight of the doona, the warmth I feel or the noise in the next room or from the street. It’s just that it is dif­fer­ent. It’s not my bed. I’m sure that my bed is noth­ing spe­cial, but it is mine.

Maybe I’ve shaped it to my body or maybe I’m just used to it. This melan­choly is not lim­ited to my bed. I seem to be con­stantly wrestling be­tween my de­sire for the fa­mil­iar and the com­fort­able and my de­sire for the new and in­ter­est­ing.

The ex­perts say we need to learn to be un­com­fort­able.

Change is hard and there are times when it’s ex­tremely un­com­fort­able. Mov­ing to a new place is un­com­fort­able. Chang­ing jobs is un­com­fort­able. Heal­ing the hurts from child­hood trauma is un­com­fort­able.

At­tempt­ing some­thing new that you know noth­ing about is un­com­fort­able.

We don’t like feel­ing un­com­fort­able, but it’s the space that fa­cil­i­tates our grow­ing.

Dis­com­fort is of­ten a by-prod­uct of push­ing our­selves.

That’s true in sport, ed­u­ca­tion, in busi­ness and in our per­sonal life.

When you’re push­ing your lim­its, you’re leav­ing what you know, what’s fa­mil­iar and com­fort­able, what works.

It means never know­ing if what you’re do­ing is the right thing.

It makes us un­sure about what we are do­ing . . . It makes us feel like an im­poster.

It means risk­ing our rep­u­ta­tion, our self­im­age, our iden­tity for some­thing we’re not sure will even work!

All that said, if we can keep go­ing, mov­ing lit­tle by lit­tle for­ward into the un­known, we will be­come a bet­ter per­son.

One of the most chal­leng­ing things about per­sonal growth in our ma­ture years is that we of­ten think that we’ve got things pretty well sorted and we don’t want to put what we have achieved at risk for the quest of on­go­ing per­sonal and spir­i­tual growth.

Jump­ing back to me, my bed and my de­sire for the com­fort­able and fa­mil­iar, I don’t un­der­stand why Je­sus wasn’t a to­tal grouch.

While on the road, trav­el­ling with his dis­ci­ples, he would al­ways have been sleep­ing rough or in a bor­rowed bed. How did he ever get a good night’s rest? He once said to a would-be fol­lower that he should think se­ri­ously be­fore com­ing with him as ‘‘Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’’.

In the gospel sto­ries, Je­sus praises faith more of­ten than love.

Spir­i­tual guru Richard Rohr says that is be­cause faith is the pa­tience with mys­tery that allows us to move for­ward even though we seem to be walk­ing in dark­ness.

He says: ‘‘We only need enough light to be able to trust the dark­ness. Tri­als and dark­ness teach us how to trust in a very prac­ti­cal way that a good God is guid­ing us.’’

If we are com­fort­able with be­ing un­com­fort­able, we don’t need to be to­tally sure be­fore we take the next step.

We can trust that even our mis­takes will be of use to us, if we al­low them to be.

Love is the goal. Faith is the slow process of getting there.

Hope is the will­ing­ness to move for­ward, even with dis­com­fort.

And these are in­deed, ‘‘the three things that last’’ ( 1 Corinthi­ans 13:13).

Peo­ple who have these gifts — faith, hope, and love — are in­de­struc­tible.

This is the gospel, and it’s good news.

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