Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (KJV)
For eleven years, my husband Marcelo and I had been renting an apartment in Chandler, Arizona, USA. In 2020, when it came time for us to renew our yearly lease, we were hit with some very unexpected news. In order to keep up with Chandler's competitive rising rental rates, the apartment owners would be totally renovating each apartment, and the renovations were going to cause the rent to double.
After hearing of the changes, if tenants opted not to renew their lease, they would be given thirty days' notice to relocate or to rent month-to-month, which would be even more expensive. If, however, the tenants agreed to stay, it would be the tenants' responsibility to move everything temporarily out of their apartment into a rented storage facility until the renovating process was completed, then to move everything back into the apartment. The new rents would become effective upon the completion of the renovation process, and the renovations were happening rather quickly.
We had thoroughly enjoyed the eleven years that we spent in the apartment. The complex provided excellent maintenance, weekly landscaping, and even pest control, if needed, but Marcelo and I decided that it was time to move, especially since there was no way of knowing how much or how often they would now choose to raise the rent each year. I knew that I would miss our apartment. During the years that I lived there, God had given me many opportunities to minister to the residents.
We had grown very comfortable living there, and we had actually thought that we would remain there until God called us home. Would you agree with me that even in our well-being and doing, there is a spiritual danger for us when we become too comfortable with where we are and what we are doing? Stepping out of our comfort zone was difficult and challenging, but God can use even seemingly negative experiences to draw us closer to Him by believing and trusting that He can use anything for His good.
In 2020, praise God, we ended up buying a home and moving to Casa Grande, Arizona.
Before we moved, my prayer was, "Dear Lord, I hope that I will draw closer to You at our new home than I have ever been before." Four days after moving in, I became ill, and for the three years that followed, it was one debilitating health issue after another. Did I grow closer to God? I most certainly did!
If God calls us to step outside of our comfort zone, let us remind ourselves not to be afraid, but to trust Him, to believe that He will strengthen us, and to know that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, Your ultimate goal is to use the goods and the bads of this physical and temporal world to conform us to Jesus' image. May we be more conformed than comfortable. Amen.