Saturday, April 16, 2011

Smashing my Idols of Comfort & Safety
I think this will be my last post about my experiences in the Tohoku area. I want to sum up my experience of greatness coming out of hard, uncomfortable things in this last entry. reported on a story of a fisherman
who rode out the tsunami in Oshima, Japan. He couldn't imagine how he had survived, so now he is trying to help people who need ferry rides across the bay. He said,
"Everyone used to look out for themselves on this island, but after this, the whole community is now helping each other."

One thing I noticed about myself during my trip was how much I value personal comfort and safety. My fears included: being in physically dangerous and psychologically intense situations (someone said we might find dead bodies in the mud), the fear of radiation exposure while going through Fukushima prefecture, the fear of being without comfortable living arrangements for 10 days, and the fear of being away from my kids and my wife for so long. It was almost to the point that I did not want to go at all.

Of course desiring comfort and safety is not wrong, but desiring comfort and safety so much that you do not step out in love to others is indeed wrong. I am thankful that God gave me the conviction to go, despite my fears.

In James 4, we learn that our desires are the cause of the conflicts in our lives. Our idolatrous desires entice us to go against God in order to obtain what we think we must have in order to be happy. Only by God's grace can we fight and win.

As you have read in my previous posts, only as we have been forced to get out of perceived comfort zones and experience hard things, can we know the greatest comfort and happiness as the glory of God is deeply known, experienced and enjoyed. I am very thankful that I was blessed to be able to go and help out in such a needy area, if even for a short time. More than the help I gave was the help my own soul was given. I give God all the credit for that.

I'll leave you with the powerful words on a plaque, written in English, on the wall of the cleaned out church in Kamaishi. It sums it all up wonderfully.
May God continue to get us out of our comfort zones so that we can truly love others.

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