God Wants Me To Be Comfortable

Exploring The Question, "Why Does God All Suffering?".

Dan Franklin
Sep 19, 2021    1hr 18m
We may often find ourselves asking, why does God allow suffering? We are used to being comfortable, but God calls on us to deal with discomfort, not by shrinking back, but by leaning in. God uses suffering and discomfort to shape us both for His glory and for our good, which will lead to spiritual growth and strong perseverance. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:01] Good morning.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:05] So last night, my oldest son was telling me and Karina about something called the Mandela effect. Some of you have heard of this, it's named for Nelson Mandela, and it's named for the belief that while he was in prison in the 1980s, there became the widespread belief that he had died in prison. Which obviously he didn't, he eventually was released and became the President of South Africa. But it was so widely believed, and so widely held, that it just wasn't questioned for a while. And now the Mandela effect is used to refer to a belief that is objectively wrong, and demonstrably wrong, you can show that it's incorrect, but it's so widely held that it's just accepted.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:48] I'll give you a couple of examples. Do you guys know Monopoly? Do you guys know that the Monopoly man does not wear a monocle? Some of you are like, wait a second. If you're my age or maybe even if you're younger, you'll remember a whole bunch of kids' books called The Berenstein Bears Books. Do you guys know that if you look at the actual name, it's Berenstain Bears? Yeah. Do you guys know in Casablanca, the line played again Sam was never said? And do you guys know that Darth Vader never said, Luke, I am your father. This is weird for us, we're like, wait, wait, a second everybody accepts this, everybody believes this, everybody thinks that this is true, but it just demonstrates that something can be a widely held belief, and even a very secure belief, something that you'd say you're certain of, and it can turn out to be untrue.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:43] Now, if we made the mistake with any of the things I just named, we'd be like, alright, it's not really that big a deal, this doesn't really affect my life. But what we're doing in this series called strongholds, is we're talking about beliefs that have become second nature in our culture. We hold them so strongly that we don't even question them, and other people around us don't question them, but they do affect our lives in profound ways if we believe these false things. And each week we're talking about a different deeply held cultural belief, and then we're seeing what the Bible has to say about it.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:19] And today's is a big one because it has to do with something that's very important to us in the United States, and that's being comfortable. So if I'm going to sum up the stronghold, the belief that we're talking about today, it would be the belief that God wants me to be comfortable. And of course, we know that the value of comfort is not just something that people who believe in God hold to, it's a very American belief. So maybe broadly speaking in our culture, we can broaden this out from the idea that God wants me to be comfortable, to just saying, if there's the option, I should choose the comfortable option, I should make my life about trying to be as comfortable as possible.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:01] And in the United States, in our culture, we are obsessed with being comfortable, we love our air conditioning, we love our hot showers, we love our high-speed internet, and the moment we feel just a tinge of discomfort in our bodies, we're going for the medicine cabinet. And we would think it was weird not to do these things, and when our internet goes out, or our showers aren't hot, we're incensed about that because we're obsessed with being comfortable, and not just with being comfortable physically, but with being comfortable socially.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:40] Think about this, have you ever heard somebody say, I'm just not comfortable speaking in front of groups? Or somebody might say, I know this person is in the hospital, but I'm just not comfortable being around sick people. Now, here's the deal, the weird thing is not that those things make you uncomfortable, it's very common to be uncomfortable with getting up in front of groups and talking, it's very common to be uncomfortable with going to a hospital and visiting sick people. The weird thing is not that we're uncomfortable with those things, the weird thing is that as soon as somebody says they're uncomfortable with that, we assume that means they shouldn't do it. I'm uncomfortable getting up in front of speaking in groups, well, then don't worry about it. I would go to the hospital, but I'm really uncomfortable around sick people, will then definitely you shouldn't do it.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:25] This is what we've done during COVID also for a lot of us. We've said, well, right now, I'm just not sure I'm comfortable going back and being around groups if some people aren't vaccinated, or some people don't have masks. And we automatically, say, well, if you're not comfortable, then just don't do it. Well, I'm not really comfortable, I don't really like the mask, and so I'm not comfortable going to a place that's still requiring it. Well, if you're not comfortable with it, don't do it. It's not weird that things make us uncomfortable, that's normal life, it's weird that we think that if they make us uncomfortable, the automatic response is that we should get out. The automatic response is that we should shrink back, when what we're going to see is that God calls us to deal with discomfort, not by shrinking back, but by leaning in.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:12] We're going to see some hard truths today, and maybe the biggest hard truth is that our comfort is not God's biggest priority. It probably wouldn't be right to say, God doesn't care at all about us being comfortable, but it certainly is not his top priority, he has other things that are more important to him than us just being comfortable. And what we're going to see is that our cultural belief that God wants me to be comfortable is not really true, what's actually true is that God uses discomfort to shape us both for his glory and for our good, which we're going to see later on are actually not in conflict.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:50] God uses discomfort to shape us for his glory and for our good. And if you hear that and you're skeptical and you're like, I'm not sure how that could be true, we're going to walk through this passage that we've already heard read in Romans chapter 4 verses 1 through 5. And what we're going to see, is see Paul give us reasons why we can believe that this is true, and he's going to do that by telling us three things. He's going to tell us about Christian status, he's going to tell us about Christian purpose, and he's going to tell us about Christian confidence.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:28] So if you're not already there, you can look at Romans chapter 5 starting in verse 1, we start with Paul telling us something about Christian status. And just to bring a point of clarity, when I'm using the word, Christian, I'm not using it sort of from a world religion standpoint, or anybody who claims to be a Christian, I'm using it from a biblical idea. And the biblical idea is not just that you say, well, I'm in America, and I believe in God, and I think Jesus is probably the right one, so I'm a Christian. If you are a Christian, it means you have bowed the need to Jesus and he is your Lord, it means that you are adopted into the family of God, it means that your sins are wiped clean because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and it means that you are in dwelt by the Holy Spirit who brings you help and strength. When I'm using Christian, I'm using it in that sense, and Paul is going to tell us something about the status that we have as Christians.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:26] So we'll start in verse 1, he says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we a have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." I'll say these first two verses, man, we could spend weeks on them, but they're kind of set up for the main thing that Paul is going to say, so we're just going to bottom-line it. He says, "We have been justified through faith." And that's a courtroom idea, the judge has laid down the gavel and has said, righteous about each one of us if we're believers in Jesus. And it's not because we were actually righteous, but it's because we put our faith in the one who is righteous. "We have been justified through faith.", and because of that, we have peace with God. Later on in Romans Chapter 5, Paul says, that before we were believers, we were not just neutral, we were enemies of God. And so when he says we have peace, he means we've been reconciled, we're now brought into the family as God's children, there's no judgment looming out there that we need to worry about, we are in a harmonious relationship with God. And once again, it's not because we figured out a way to fix it, it's through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:42] That's the kind of status that we have, we're justified, we're declared righteous, we have peace with God. He goes on in verse 2 and furthers it, he says, "Through whom, through Jesus, we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." We're justified, we have peace with God, we have an all-access pass to God's presence. Have you ever been at a conference or a concert where you have a backstage pass? You get this extra access, and you're back around, and somebody looks at you and says, wait, are you supposed to be back here? And you're like, Yup, look right there, I belong. If anybody ever questions whether you belong, confessing your sins to God, praying to him for strength, calling out to him and worship, treating him like he's your Father, if anybody questions that, including yourself, you can remember that through Jesus you have an all-access pass to God anytime you want.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:43] And specifically, he says, "We have access into the grace in which we now stand." Which means, as Christians, our daily, life is not lived in the fear of, well, did I mess up yesterday, then that probably means that I'm out today, and I've got to make up for it. And if I had a good day today, I'm good with God, but if I had a bad day today, I'm bad with God. We stand by grace, which means everything that we do is in God's grace and in his kindness. Grace is a safe place to land when we fall, and we don't want to fall, but do we still fall? We have access to Grace, a safe place to land.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:20] And he's not even quite done, at the end of verse two, he says, "And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.". Which means he says that we're looking forward to something in the future, we have this status now and we boast, another way of kind of saying we rejoice, it's our confidence that we have hope. And hope means confidence, hope in the Bible is not cross your fingers, close your eyes, and just really wish it into existence, hope is the confident expectation of better days in the future. So, he says, we walk forward with our joy being in the confident expectation of the glory of God. Which doesn't just mean God wins in the end, even though he does. Because Paul, in Romans 3:23, used the phrase, the glory of God. He says in a familiar verse, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.". Which, in essence, means we're not who we were created to be, we fall short of reflecting God's glory in our lives. And Paul, here at the end of verse 2, says, we move forward in the confident expectation that that won't always be true, because there will be a future glory that we share.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:34] Three chapters later in Romans 8:29, the Apostle Paul writes, "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." God is forming you, if you're a believer, he is forming you and transforming you so that one day you will be just like Jesus. We have our joy in the confident expectation of the future glory that we'll experience As Christians, we have status with God, and the reason that this is so important for this message is that Paul is about to talk about suffering, he's about to talk about discomfort.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:18] And when we suffer, we wonder what's going on, and because of these verses, we can be confident that we can rule out at least three things when we're suffering, we can rule out that the reason we're suffering is because God is absent because God says, I will never leave you and I will never forsake you, we belong to him. It also means that if we're suffering, we can rule out God's indifference, God's not just shrugging his shoulders, saying I don't really care what happens to them, God is our Father, we stand by his grace. And number three, we can rule out that it means God is unable to do anything about it because what we're going to see in verse 3, is that God doesn't shrug his shoulders at our suffering, he uses our suffering for his glory and for our good.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:08] So let's start to look at that now, we move on from Christian status to Christian purpose, and in verses 3 and 4, are where we're going to camp and spend most of our time. Paul says, starting in verse 3, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings." Now, the word for glory there, when he says, we glory in our sufferings, is the same word used back in verse 2 for boast. We rejoice in the confident expectation that one day we will be conformed to the image of Jesus, we're no longer going to be sinning, we're no longer going to be falling short, we're no longer going to be tainted images of God's glory, we are going to be like Jesus, that's our joy. And he says, do you know what else is our joy? Our sufferings. And he doesn't say, we glory despite our sufferings. Like, we look at the bad things going on and we say, well, this is really bad, but at least I have these other good things. That might be true, that that's something healthy to do, but that's not what he's saying. He doesn't say we glory despite our sufferings, he says, we glory in our sufferings, because apparently, our sufferings have some good that they're bringing.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:23] Now, I want you just to think about this with me for a moment, if our sufferings as Christians are something that we would rejoice in, that we would say this is something good, then who are those sufferings from? We have trouble with this, we look at this and we say, well, we suffer because of Satan. And that's true, the whole question of suffering is a complicated question, Satan does bring suffering. But we can start to think, well, this is the way that it works, Satan brings suffering into our lives, and God sort of makes the best out of that bad situation. No, that's not what's going on here, Paul is not saying Satan brings suffering, but God works it for our good, he's saying we have suffering as a good gift from God. If you're suffering, it's not because God temporarily lost control and is now trying to make lemonade out of the lemons that Satan sent you. It's because God, in His sovereignty, has given you that trial.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:29] And there are lots of scripture passages to turn to, I'll just talk about a couple, an Old Testament one and a New Testament one. In the Old Testament, you might be familiar with the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, an evil act, he went off to Egypt and he suffered more evil from other people. But eventually, God worked in the situation, and Joseph ended up being in charge of all of Egypt and saving Egypt and the surrounding areas from a famine that would have wiped them out. And while all this is going on, Joseph meets back up with these brothers who sold him into slavery, and they think that he's going to punish them, which is not crazy. But he says this to them in Genesis chapter 45 verses 7 and 8, he says, "But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.". And then listen to this last part, he says, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God." Joseph doesn't say you sent me here, but God found a way to make it OK. He says, you thought you were sending me here, but God was sending me here. And he's not letting them off the hook, in Genesis 20 he says, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." He doesn't say, you guys did nothing wrong, they did do something wrong, but God was in charge the whole time. He says, you guys thought you were in charge, you weren't in charge, God sent me here.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:00] Now, let me give you a New Testament example, it's our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter, in Acts chapter 2, has given a sermon to the Jewish people about Jesus, and he says this about Jesus in chapter 2 verse 23. He says, "This man, Jesus, was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." Now, once again, did Peter just let them off the hook? Not remotely, he says you, along with wicked men, nailed him to the cross, you did something evil. But he says Jesus was handed over to you by whose plan? Whose predetermined plan? God had this all planned out. When it looked like Satan was winning, Satan was being defeated.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:51] Your suffering is not something that God shrugs his shoulders at and says, sorry, there's only so much I can do, you're suffering, and your discomfort is something that God is in charge of. And while that might bring us extra discomfort because we're like, now, I have to wrestle with all these questions, God could've stopped this, and why doesn't he? It at the very least puts you in a position where you don't have to have the terror of thinking, is God not in control of my life right now, and is he not powerful enough?

Dan Franklin: [00:18:24] God is in charge of everything, including our discomfort. Which points to the idea that God must have a greater purpose than our comfort. And we all know, when you have a greater purpose than just being comfortable, you're willing to go through discomfort. There's not a person in this room that hasn't in some way been impacted by cancer, in either yourself or in somebody that you love, and when you have cancer, typically, you go through chemotherapy. Is chemotherapy pleasant? It's incredibly unpleasant, you're pumping poison into your body, you get sick, you throw up, you lose your hair, it's incredible discomfort. But your purpose in the chemotherapy is not to be as comfortable as possible, what is your purpose in the chemotherapy? Kill that cancer, and I'm willing to be uncomfortable to get that greater result with that greater purpose.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:21] God has a greater purpose for us than just being comfortable, and what Paul does and verses 3 and 4, is he does a string of connections to show how this works. So again, he starts off, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings." Why? "Because we know that suffering produces perseverance." And perseverance, another synonym would be endurance, it's the idea of not giving up and pushing through, even when things are really difficult. He says that's what we want, that's what God wants for us, he wants us to be people who aren't just giving up when there's the opportunity to give up, he wants us to be the kind of people who are pushing through.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:06] Some of you in here are runners, and not just recreational runners, but you've run, and you've done long runs like 10Ks, and half marathons, and marathons. Has anybody in here done a marathon? God bless you. We'll talk later about the psychological problems that led to you doing that because we don't have time up here. But if you're going to do something, obviously, you know this, but we all kind of know when you're about to do a marathon, you don't just get out there and try to run 26 miles, you train for it, and you train for it by trying to get your body to the point that when you want to give up, your body is capable of pushing through. And you can't get to that level of perseverance by sitting at home and reading books about how to go from your couch to being able to run a marathon, and you can't just watch YouTube videos on great runners and say, I'll do what they did, and you can't just visualize with the power of positive thinking and eventually become capable of doing this, if you want to get good at running a marathon, what do you have to do? You have to run, which is the worst, you have to go through all that discomfort for you to be capable of persevering.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:24] I think everybody in this room, we all are like, yeah, I want to be a person who can persevere. If you want to be a person who can persevere, you have to suffer, there's no other way to get there. You don't get to be the kind of person who can persevere in running, in the battle with sin, in the battle with trials, in the battle against cowardice, you don't get perseverance in any of those areas unless you suffer discomfort, suffering produces perseverance.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:55] But the string goes on, perseverance produces character, and the word for character here has to do with the idea of something that's tested, and now has been proven to be solid. That your character is not just theoretical, where you're thinking of scenarios and saying, yeah, if that ever happened, here's how I'd handle it, your character has been tested, and it's now on solid ground.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:21] Some of you are big college football fans, and you've been watching the first couple of weeks of the season. And what often happens in the first couple of weeks of a college football season, is that you have these massive powerhouse schools, you know, Alabama, and Georgia, and Ohio State, and they play these schools that they refer to as cupcakes, these schools like North Dakota Technical Institute of Veterinary Sciences. You know, it's just this obscure school that gets thrown a bone, and you know Ohio State plays them and they win like 70 to nothing. And if you're an Ohio State fan, you're like, oh, that's great, my team won by 70 points. But do you really know how good your team is? No. You're looking at that and you're saying, I'm glad we won by 70, but I'll only know how good the team is after they've been tested by a team that's actually good.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:14] We tend, in the United States, we tend to look at ourselves and say, man, if real suffering, if real persecution came, if it was the choice between following Jesus and going to jail, or following Jesus and going to my death, I'd stay strong. Why in the world are you so confident of that if you haven't been tested? And you don't get to the point that you're tested unless you learn how to persevere.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:42] Let me share a story just from my own life about how I saw God work this. When I was young, the church that I was a part of, we would have different missionaries come in. And I guess I admired them, but I was always like, not for me, no way, no how. Like I'm never going overseas, maybe for a vacation, but I didn't even want to do that. I was just like it's never going to happen, short term, long term, I will never do any of that, and that was really my attitude all through high school.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:10] And as I got into college, I really began to believe that God was looking to break me of that non-negotiable that I had. And I was really uncomfortable with that, I was like, I live in the United States, why leave, this is awesome. But I got the sense that God wanted other people to be more important to me than my discomfort, and so I didn't really like the idea, but do you know what I did? I signed up for a mission trip, and I decided to go on it, and I went on it. And we saw God work, which was wonderful, was it uncomfortable? Yeah, it was really uncomfortable, I was really glad to be home. There was probably not an hour on the entire trip that there wasn't a part of me that was like, I can't wait to get home.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:56] But I saw God work, and it got a little less daunting, and so you know what I did next? I went on another mission trip because I hadn't really cultivated the perseverance yet, I didn't want to go, but I went, and this one was longer, and it was actually for a couple of months. And once again I saw God work, and there probably wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't like, I can't wait to get home. That was at the end of college, and after college and into my adult life, when there were opportunities that would come up, I kept saying yes to going, because I wanted to cultivate perseverance. Instead of saying this is uncomfortable, so I should get out, this is uncomfortable, so I'm going to shrink back, I believe that my discomfort was a sign that God wanted me to lean in.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:41] And it's funny, because Karina and I, just the other day we were talking about, you know, we dream about, what's going to happen when it's time for me to no longer be a full-time pastor if the Lord has us live that long, and we're still able to do things, what will we do? And one of the things that we frequently talk about is, maybe we'll spend a year or two years overseas and I'll get the opportunity to train some pastors and will be a part of the ministry there. The weirdest thing is this, when we talk about this, I get excited about it. It still sounds a lot less comfortable than some other options, but I persevered to the point that I now believe, yeah, I could really do this, and I believe God would really work through this. You don't get the tested proven character without the perseverance.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:27] So I gave an example from my life, now let me give an example from this church. Probably about three or four years ago, we were talking as a service planning team and we said, alright, we want to do some things that will cultivate the atmosphere in our Sunday services where we're not just sitting and listening, but we're participating. So we introduced something that we just called group prayer, once a month, we started to have people stand up, get into groups of three or four or five people around them and pray about something that the pastor or elder who is up here instructed them to pray about.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:00] Now, this has become a part of just our life at Life Bible Fellowship Church, this has become kind of normal to a lot of us. At the beginning, whew, we got some pushback, there's at least one guy that left the church over it. They literally came to us and said, was that a one-time thing or are you guys going to keep doing that? And we were like, we're going to keep doing that. And he was like, alright, I need to find a different church. There are others who didn't leave the church over it, but they left the sanctuary whenever we did it. In case you're thinking you were subtle about this, give me a break. Somebody gets up, we're going to now have group prayer, oh, I got to go to the bathroom and refill my coffee right now, and then I've got to get back from that immediately after it's done. One of the things that we thought, we looked at this and there were actually times when we were like, gosh, we don't want to push people too hard, but we looked at it and said, we believe God wants prayer to be something that's a part of our services, and so we pushed through.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:59] And let me say again, group prayer, if you're uncomfortable with group prayer, I don't think that's weird, I think that's pretty normal, like that's something that is uncomfortable. Here's my question for you, when something like that comes up and you're uncomfortable with it, do you believe that the way that God wants you to deal with that discomfort is to avoid it at all costs or to lean in and get good at it? And yeah, alright, I wasn't even looking for an answer, but you got the right answer. God wants us to lean in, and you're not going to get to the point that you say now with group prayer, I can do it, and I'm not as daunted by it, unless you persevere when it feels really difficult. We don't get the proven character without persevering.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:42] And then the last part of the string, is that character produces hope. And we've already talked about hope, hope is the confident expectation that better days are ahead. And our world needs people of hope, and not just cheap hope like everything's going to be OK, but real solid hope that because of what Jesus has done, we know everything is going to be OK. We have hope in at least two things when we're suffering, we have hope that the suffering will one day end because Jesus was bringing deliverance, and we have the confidence that our suffering will have meaning because God is using our suffering to bring perseverance, and he's using our perseverance to bring character, and he's using our character to bring hope, which is confidence.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:33] And Paul camps on that confidence for the last verse of this passage, he talks about Christian confidence. Look at verse 5, "And hope does not put us to shame." Or another way of saying it in some of your Bibles is, hope does not disappoint, our hope in Jesus doesn't disappoint, which is good news because sometimes we place our hope in something that does disappoint us. We place our hope in the certain outcome for an election, and then we're disappointed. Or we place our hope in a certain sports team doing well, and we're disappointed.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:03] But he says this hope is not going to disappoint you, confidence in God is not going to disappoint you. And here's how you know why, "Because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." We have God's love demonstrated through the Holy Spirit being present with us. And if you read the Bible, the Spirit does all kinds of amazing things in our lives, he empowers us, he instructs us, he reminds us, but one of the roles of the Spirit is to confirm that we really belong to God. Ephesians chapter 1 verses 13 and 14, the Apostle Paul here again says, "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." Paul says we've got an inheritance, we have promised rewards, and do you know how we know we're going to get that promised reward? Because God gave us a deposit, we have the Holy Spirit now, and that tells us every promise is going to come about.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:22] In fact, the word in Ephesians 1 for deposit, describing the Spirit, that Greek word became the modern Greek word for engagement ring. Which if you pause to think about it, you're like, well, that's kind of a deposit, right? A man gives a woman a diamond ring, and every time she looks down at that diamond ring on her finger, it's not just something pretty that she can look at, but she can look at that diamond ring and say this is a promise that he'll marry me. We have the Holy Spirit, and every time we think about the Spirit being in our lives, we say, and that's the reason why we know we're going to get everything else that God has promised. His love has been poured out into our hearts, we know that our suffering will one day end, and we know that everything that we suffer and every sacrifice that we make along the way will have meaning in the end.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:19] You know, it's not easy to shake off the idea that we're always supposed to be comfortable, because every billboard, every commercial, every song, every movie, everything points towards this, but God has greater priorities for us. So let me just ask the question, are you uncomfortable right now? Do you have a teacher, or a boss, who just really makes your life difficult? Do you have a job that's trying your patience and making your life need to be marked by endurance? Do you have a marriage that's challenging and exhausting? Do you have a battle with sin that just feels constant and never-ending?

Dan Franklin: [00:33:06] Or let me ask this, do you have something that you know God is calling you to do, but it's overwhelming to think about doing it because it's going to take so much courage? Are you uncomfortable right now? And the question, if you're uncomfortable, is are you going to shrink back, or are you going to lean in? Are you going to say I'm uncomfortable, so automatically, I should figure out a way to get out of this, or are you going to say maybe my discomfort is a sign that God wants me to lean in? Because if I don't lean in, I'm never going to get the perseverance. And if I don't get the perseverance, I'm never going to get the proven character. And if I don't get the proven character, I'm never going to be the kind of person that lives by hope.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:48] God has bigger priorities for us than just to be comfortable, so actually, we're going to put this into practice in our service right now, and I'm going to invite a bunch of you to do something that's going to be uncomfortable. Let me explain the whole thing to you, and then I'll walk through it. The way that we're going to end our service is that there's probably some of you that because of something in this message, because of some way that God is working, you need prayer from your brothers and sisters in Christ, so what we're going to do is if you're in that place, later on, you're not going to do it right now, I'll tell you when it's time. But I'm going to have you stand and we're just going to have people around you gather, and they're not going to know exactly why you're standing, but they're just going to gather around you and pray for you. And it's going to be uncomfortable to take that step to stand, but just because it's uncomfortable does not mean it's a sign to be avoided, it may be exactly what God is calling you to do to begin the process of perseverance.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:46] And for some of the rest of you, you're like, are those doors open? Because you're like, all right, I'll just find an excuse, the service is pretty much over, don't flee just because you're uncomfortable. If you're sitting in a place that nobody close to you is standing, just silently pray for the people who are. And if there's somebody close to you standing, reach out to them with their hand and just pray for them.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:10] And let me give you some reasons why it would be appropriate for you to stand and get prayer from your brothers and sisters in Christ. You might stand if you know that God is calling you to do something uncomfortable, and you're just not sure you're going to do it if you're honest. I know God wants me to do this, I know I should obey God, I kind of think I'm not going to do it because it's that uncomfortable, and I need prayer so that I'll have the strength to do what God is calling me to do. On the other hand, you might stand because you're dealing with a discomfort that you have no control over. You're like, God didn't give me a choice in this one, this is just an uncomfortable situation that I'm dealing with, and you're discouraged, and you're overwhelmed and you just need the strength from God, you need prayer for the strength from God to be able to keep going in a situation that's uncomfortable and discouraging. Or, frankly, a third reason why you might stand is just because you're realizing through this, man, comfort is my idol, my life is marked by trying to be comfortable, and I need to confess this idol, I need to figure out a way to cultivate that the idol of comfort is not running my life.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:22] If any of those things mark you, if comfort is the idol in your life, if you have a situation where God's calling you to do something and it's overwhelming, or if you're just in an uncomfortable situation and it's overwhelming, I'm going invite you now, now is the time to just go ahead and stand where you are. People won't know exactly the reason why you're standing, but they'll know that you need prayer from brothers and sisters, and you're desperate enough to do something uncomfortable to make sure that you get that prayer from your brothers and sisters. This is an opportunity for us not to shrink back, but to lean in and say, God, I'm willing to be uncomfortable for the purposes that you have.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:06] Now, for all of us right now, you've probably noticed, I just want you to scan and survey your area. And eventually, after we've prayed for a little while, I'll close our time and prayer, but if there's somebody close to you who's standing, just right now, go ahead and move towards them, move towards them, turn around and gather around them and just start praying. Pray silently, pray aloud, you don't know all of what's going on, but you know something about what's going on, go ahead and pray, and in a few minutes, I'll close our time in prayer.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848