God of comfort

Reflections on today’s sermon (just what I needed! But please listen to it yourself because I know I just got a tiny nugget of the whole thing. 🙂 VCCC)

Today our pastor continued his series on Isaiah.  He has been connecting the dots between Isaiah’s prophecies of the suffering servant and the gospel – those prophecies come true in Jesus.  Today we looked at a song of rejoicing, Isaiah 54-55.  We had been covering the futility and pain of idol worship (an abundant topic in Isaiah) compared with the riches of mercy and grace found in Jesus.  Although somewhat debatable, the topic of having idols in our hearts (even as believers – things that we value more than God, and give more service and devotion to than God) has been a helpful one for me, especially today.

The idol of comfort.  I have definitely been struggling with that. Most recently, it’s been because beginning homeschooling has NOT been comfortable, it’s been hard and required a whole lot of self-sacrifice that I just don’t find comfy!

But actually I’ve been struggling with it mostly because I am pregnant.  And before I complain, I want to write a few things that I find absolutely amazing about being pregnant.

The changes that happen in a woman’s body during pregnancy are amazing.  Talk about self-sacrifice – the female body literally steals from itself to nourish that new life.  You may be starving, but even if it leaves your body completely drained and your bones hollow, your baby will be the very last to suffer.  And all that extra blood that gets produced …lately I’ve been feeling like I’m starting to go transparent!  I can see so many more veins and capillaries and arteries, because my blood volume is higher.  And I know that that blood is what is nourishing this new life inside of me.  My shortness of breath, almost panting – that’s because baby is using up oxygen too and I need to breathe in more of it for both of us.  And one more shout-out to the wonder of how our bodies adapt: stretch marks.  Yup.  Before this pregnancy, I had almost felt like mourning over what looked like the “ravages of pregnancy” – my over-stretched, completely inelastic jelly belly (I’ve had four pretty big babies).  Those stretch marks that never go away, that look like little silver rivers running down my lower abdomen…it was hard to rejoice in those.  Right now, at 32 weeks (and the biggest push yet to come), I’ve been rather surprised to see that even with everything spreading out wider and faster with this baby, my stomach skin hasn’t even felt a pinch.  It’s got a ways to go before it will!  And that is amazing to me too. 🙂

Now let me say, this pregnancy has also been hard.  The lovely softening up of tendons that happens so that bones can stretch to accomodate giving birth?  It’s been painful to walk for the last 3 months.  My hips are constantly ready to remind me that I cannot do the things I want to do, without very very cautiously trying a gradual move towards it – like sitting down, getting up, turning over, stuff like that.  My baby seems to have a lovely amount of room to swim around in (advantage of being pregnancy #6) and at times I feel like I’m going to explode!  Seriously, child, you CANnot stick your foot that far out!  🙂  Braxton-hicks or “hey, my belly is hard and it hurts!”  And of course there are other side effects and things that don’t need to be mentioned here. 😉

To cope with all of this, I had decided that it’s my mentality that needs to change, since things are just going to get worse.  I need to believe that it is absolutely normal to be in pain and tired constantly and rejoice on the rare occasions that something doesn’t hurt!, or when I manage to do all those chores in one go (instead of sitting down every 3 min to rest), or those days I get through life _without_ a nap.  And that helps, but I think after today’s sermon, I need to also remember that comfort and freedom from pain is not to be my goal, my idol.

Isa 55:1-3  “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”

And surely Jesus was referring to this here:

Mat 11:28-30  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I’m going to try that.  🙂

pregnant hand

This is one of the funnest changes.  One of the things I remember most clearly about my dad was his hands – specifically the veins on his hands that rolled around like worms (he was already almost 50 when I was born).  I spent a lot of time playing with his hands!  And with this pregnancy, my veins stick out just as much as his did and are somewhat distracting…and the kids are already playing with them. 😉

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About nathankathy

Nathan and Katherine Born are two Christians trying to serve God as best they can.
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