Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself. On the contrary, as it is written, The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice. Romans 15:1-6 CSB
We watched The Crown season 4. It was very watchable. At the end, one of the most poignant parts was observing the Queen with eyes turning and gazing upwards, as Prince Philip spoke to Diana of the Queen’s centrality in ‘the system’.
Despite her weaknesses – such as her emotional disconnection with her ‘close ones’ – and the apparent circus of drama, divorce, and dissatisfaction surrounding her, now in her 90s, she is still there. And, ‘one’ can imagine; with eyes gazed up. One hopes her hope remains in something greater than herself. And in this way, through it all, by staying put, she has stayed in purpose.
Responding to Discomfort
Life, often, is uncomfortable. If it is not, we are probably not living it right. When it is uncomfortable, our thoughts can become about another place we could be, or once were. Especially when the discomfort, it seems, is being caused by something or someone outside of our control.
But staying put can mean to stay in purpose. With purpose comes potential for change.
That potential may come to the surface as people or circumstances change around us. But it can also arrive as change happens within us. As it happens within us, change can also happen through us.
When things got uncomfortable, Jesus could have moved on. After all, he was the closest anyone could have been to God. Had he decided to change direction, start a new season, start a fresh; his Father in heaven would not have left him. Jesus would not have been alone. He would not have been without hope or a future.
God works all things for good for those who love him and work according to his purposes. But it may take that discomfort, along with our right response, for that work to take place most effectively. Taking that discomfort by staying put is perhaps what it takes to stay in purpose.
The Comfort in Discomfort
Discomfort may be a sign of being in God’s perfect will rather than away from it. This is not to say that God is a mean Father. Rather, when in pain and suffering, God gives us the comfort to persevere.
For a follower of Jesus Christ, as would have been for Christ himself while on earth, comfort can exist despite of and during the discomfort.
That type of comfort was strong enough to keep Christ on the cross, under injustice, in pain, and subject to public mocking and flogging. That same comfort is now also strong enough to be with us. And it is strong enough to flow from us to others.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 CSB
When we stay put in a place of discomfort, it is the comfort from Christ that can save us from saying or doing something we could come to regret. Even if we feel the subject of our discomfort deserves such words or actions. The Bible speaks of people of purpose in places of purpose who sadly didn’t respond well to discomfort. They became jealous and murderous. They became swayed by bad influences and enticed to curse their own people. They questioned, complained, and argued about the authority they were operating under, and the apparent lack they were in, compared to their past experiences and the promises received.
For these people, it didn’t end well.
Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct — like irrational animals — by these things they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 1:9-11 CSB
Despite our own current feelings towards or about others around us, or the situation we find ourselves in, at any given time, in staying put, we can stay in purpose. Where there is purpose, and when we draw in that comfort from Christ and persevere, we can trust that God will pull us through and mature us in the process. One way or another, what is opposing us or causing affliction in the process; it will pass. As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, change will happen in ourselves and also cause a change in whatever appears to be opposing us.
Each man took his firepan, placed fire in it, put incense on it, and stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting along with Moses and Aaron. After Korah assembled the whole community against them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this community so I may consume them instantly.”…[Moses] warned the community, “Get away now from the tents of these wicked men. Don’t touch anything that belongs to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.”…Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord sent me to do all these things and that it was not of my own will: If these men die naturally as all people would, and suffer the fate of all, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something unprecedented, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them along with all that belongs to them so that they go down alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have despised the Lord.” Just as he finished speaking all these words, the ground beneath them split open. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, all Korah’s people, and all their possessions.” Numbers 16:18-21, 26, 28-32 CSB
The Essence of Her Duty
Everyone in this system is a lost, lonely, irrelevant outsider apart from the one person, the only person that matters. She’s the oxygen we all breath, the essence of all our duty. Your problem, if I may say, you seemed to be confused about who that person is.
As Prince Philip shares these words with Diana, our attention shifts back to the Queen, at the altar, on her knees, turning her gaze upwards. Staying put. Based on the Prince’s view, we can assume she is considered as a ‘found’, ‘comforted’, ‘relevant’ insider. As we listen to these words, we see the source of the Queen’s oxygen and the essence of all her duty. We are not left in confusion about who that person is.
Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB
Aaron then returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, since the plague had been halted. Numbers 16:50 CSB