I awoke with a start this morning at 6am, and before my alarm. The sunlight was already streaming in through the white sheers which cover the two windows (yes, that’s right, two windows in our NYC sublet!) on either side of the bed (and yes, the bedroom is large enough for space on either side of the queen-sized bed!).
We leave tomorrow for an international trip and the to-dos and packing lists are piling up. Two of those boxes needing to be checked: confirming the length of our hotel stay and confirming our transportation from the international airport to our hotel.
Hours later I finally sent off the emails to take care of those two important details. I haven’t written my lists down, so they are inefficiently stored in my head. My stress level over this trip is rising, for packing for a trip when the majority of your belongings are in storage hundreds of miles away is a bit challenging. While I love our sublet, the life of a subletter is transient, transitory, temporary. I’m longing for a home and to have access to all of my possessions.
But then I think of Jesus saying how he had no place to lay his head. I think about what it means to follow Jesus and being willing to give up some expected “comforts.”
Don’t get me wrong, my life is comparatively cushy. Though we raise our own funds to pay for ministry and personal expenses (well, to pay for EVERYTHING), we live in America, and Americans are far wealthier than most of the people in our world. I have a roof over my head. I have a home with working plumbing and electricity. I pay our bills each month. We have all kinds of technology. We eat regularly. We lack nothing, really. And did I mention that I’m getting ready for an international trip?
Sure, I long for the convenience of having all of my shoes under one roof. And I wish I had access to my favorite books which are stacked in boxes in a friend’s garage. But I am warm at night, and when I step into the wind during the day, I can clutch my jacket tighter around me. I pass people on the street who are not nearly as blessed materially as I am. It is humbling.
Somehow I’ve come to assume that convenience and comfort are part of a collection of “rights” that I have as an American and as a Christian. Where did I get this idea? Though America may expect more, better, bigger for less money, effort and time, I don’t see that aggressive, demanding, insisting tone in Jesus. To which “rights” did Jesus cling? Which hardships did He revile?
In my daily Bible reading and blog community, the lead bloggers commented on the differences between Saul and David during Saul’s kingship: how we can choose the way of Saul, short-circuiting God, impatiently demanding our way, forgetting God’s instructions and ways, or we can choose the way of David, patiently waiting for what God has promised, honoring the boundaries He put in our lives, and turning to God when frustrated, disappointed or confused.
It’s not profound, but as I readjust my attitude again to “temporary” living in a sublet, I realize I have a choice. I can get frustrated and rant and demand the order and organization that I crave. Or I can thank Jesus. Thank Him for this reminder that my home awaits me in Heaven; that I was made for a different world; that I have a choice to say “no” to the petulant child within who wants her way right away, and can relax in the here and now; that I can lean on Him and not on my own understanding, knowing that He will provide for my daily bread and my next steps. Just as He always has. And always will.
My trials feel taxing to me, though small in reality. But they provide an opportunity to turn to Jesus as I deal with the less-than-ideal in life.