A Discomfort Can Be a Sign

"... Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized" - Genesis 21:25.

Discomfort has a way of pushing us into a course of action, primarily to resolve it. Take the case of a job. Some jobs are not very good fit for us. It can be very stressful or the environment abusive. A better job may be waiting somewhere for us but because of the fear of losing what we have right now, we don't even think about resigning. But then something can arise that will actually force our hand. And then the unthinkable happens. We lose the job but we found a new one that make us finally realize that losing the previous one was the best thing that ever happened to us. And we wish it happened sooner. Well, that's the purpose of discomfort sometimes.

However, we should be careful not to treat all discomfort as a sign to pack up and go. Many opportunities for growth can come from discomfort without the unnecessary hassle of dislocation. All growth for that matter has a prior "discomfort" preceding it. It's the discomfort of the new house that we buy or dream of buying a bigger one. It's the discomfort of experiencing a sickness that makes us watch our diet or take exercise seriously. It's the discomfort of being alone and friendless that make us strive to establish better relationships in the future.

When Abraham lost a well to some competing herders close to the king, he must have thought that event highly discomfiting. For herders of sheep, having a well of one's own in arid lands is a big deal. Losing one you have built yourself is an aggression of the highest order. But Abraham is so blessed to be in the middle of something that the Lord was trying to accomplish. Even this "unfortunate" incident led to the fulfillment of one more promise.

Even before the birth of his son Isaac, God already promised him lands for his descendants. This is the land - the land of the Philistines and Abimelech is their king. We remember already how Abimelech tried to take Sarah for his wife and how God intervened so that it won't happen. Instead, Abraham received favor from him and it greatly increased Abraham's wealth. With the wealth, the king also allowed Abraham to graze throughout the land as he saw fit. But he was still a stranger to the land until this incident. What started as a "discomfort" for he lost his well, Abimelech offered him back the well when he complained for this time, Abraham had enough men to threaten the very land where he was and it was the intention of Abimelech to befriend him leading to a covenant of peace between the two. This is a perfect example of discomfort leading to gain.

This good fortune and fulfillment of one more promise of God to Abraham started with something that didn't feel right. But God had always been there for this man as He is there for all His children. His presence assures us that even "unfortunate" things like losing something can actually lead to gaining more. When Abraham planted a tree in that piece of land by the well afterwards, he was laying claim to a land that will someday belong to his descendants.

We can never allow unfortunate events in our life today to dictate to us how we look at the future. For all we know, whatever it is that we go through today is just a minor discomfort that precedes growth or bigger opportunities or both. Let's trust the Lord to make use of circumstances however unpleasant they may seem at the moment to raise us up and promote us to the next level of faith and life. With faith and trust, the trajectory of our life can only rise which is a true picture of those who are blessed by God for their unwavering faith.

From now on, let's look at discomfort as a sign. In short, let's learn to be comfortable with discomfort. Let's allow it to instruct our next action and with a prayerful heart, let's trust God to lead us to the correct one.

(Photo credit: Mecademic on Twitter)