Sitting in comfort in attempts to avoid pain, increases pain; sitting in discomfort with pain, increases peace.

“For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11b-13

In my living room, there is a soft cushy oversized chair. Many mornings are spent sitting in my comfy chair reading the word, drinking coffee, looking out to the view of the forest through the glass doors to our porch. However, if I did that all day or too long, the chair wouldn’t be the only thing to be cushy. Resistance and pressure are needed for building strength.

My husband has some back issues and as a result, he cannot sit in this comfy chair. What is comfortable for me is torture for him. This is true for many people. Have you ever offered a comfortable chair to someone only to have them choose a hard, solid chair because that is actually more comfortable? When someone has pain, the comfy chair isn’t always the answer.

What if the hard chair is the answer?

So often we are looking for the comfy chair when what we need is to sit in the uncomfortable hard chair because that is what is best for our pain.

Sitting in discomfort isn’t comfortable at all, so we, as humans, usually avoid sitting in discomfort at all costs. But what if when it comes to emotional and spiritual issues, the answer lies in sitting in discomfort? What if that great paradox was true—that true comfort from the Comforter was found in discomfort?

The comfy chair for us may look like numbing with alcohol or other addictive substances, Nexflix, extensive scrolling on social media, food, or just checking out emotionally. It could be video games, music, or movies we are using as a way to avoid facing pain or escape. Even positivity or going to “happy places” in our minds or actual locations can be used to avoid pain.

What I am finding out, and the reason for this post, is the more I try to escape from pain, the more pain I feel. Sitting in comfort in attempts to avoid pain, increases pain; sitting in discomfort with pain, increases peace. Anxiety often comes for me from wanting to escape but there isn’t an escape. Now instead of fighting it, I’m embracing it. Embracing the pain, sitting in the discomfort, and inviting the Healer to come around me with the soft arms of His chair as I sit and rest in Him.

There is a paradox here that I cannot explain other than we live in an upside-down Kingdom—the more we give, the more we receive; the more we bless others, we are blessed; and the more we sit in discomfort, the more we discover healing, comfort, and peace.

This paradox occurs because when we aren’t trying to escape from the pain or numb, we are going to the Source for healing. Our salvation and healing are not in a TV show, a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies, or a cocktail at happy hour. There is only One Savior and One Healer and He isn’t found in fantasyland—He is in the hard places, when our fight, flight, or freeze kicks in, and instead of looking to escape or run, we sit, we feel, and we seek our Healer.

As I think of the Apostle Paul, I cannot help but think of all the times he sat in discomfort.

Beaten, stoned, shipwrecked. Sitting in a prison cell (not the cushy type we think of today, one where he was most likely sitting in sewage and filth). He “sat” in the deep literally for a night and a day. In perils of many kinds, sleeplessness, hungry, cold, naked, plus the concerns for all the churches (II Corinthians 11:25). All of that shouts uncomfortable. He knew what it was to sit in discomfort. That is why he could write with full confidence:

“For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11b-13

Lord, I hope I don’t have to be in the deep for a day and a night or be stoned and beaten in order to learn the things Paul learned. But what he learned through adversity is what enabled him to be able to sit in prison stocks with Silas and sing praises with peace instead of panicking. Sitting in discomfort will also transform the way we respond to pain from a place of panic to peace.

Sitting in discomfort is where Paul found His Source of strength—Christ. Similarly, as we are still and sit in discomfort, we will find our strength, healing, freedom, and peace. I know it sounds upside down, but it is in the hard chair where we find healing and peace from the only true Source of comfort.

Father, thank you for how you comfort us. Thank you Lord that when we sit with you in our pain that we actually find the peace that we have been searching for all along. Lord, we invite you to sit with us in the hard chairs, the hard places, and we ask for you to heal and strengthen our hearts. Only You can heal our broken hearts. And may we learn as Paul did to be content in all things knowing we can do all things through Christ who has strengthened us. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, amen.

Today’s post was written by Sue Molitor. Sue is on staff with the ministry of Deeper Still in International Relations. She lives in beautiful East Tennessee and loves spending time with her husband and 3 kids. She enjoys reading, coffee with friends, and taking long walks. She has been writing for the Deeper Still Devotions for 7 years and loves to encourage others and cheer them on towards finding freedom and healing.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.