In the movie, “The Kid,” Bruce Willis plays Russ Duritz, a grown-up under stress. He regresses to a form of comfort when he was a kid – a sandwich. He begins to make one and repeatedly says – “There’s safety in a sandwich!” As he tries to convince himself in his self-dialogue, he grips his almost finished sandwich and flips it around expressively while talking. Alfalfa sprouts fly everywhere. Then lettuce flips out. It’s not much of a sandwich any more. Many people think there’s comfort in a sandwich.
Life is often like a sandwich. Sometimes there’s comfort in a sandwich. Other times, it has all the wrong ingredients, and when you try to find relief with stress all around, stuff just flies everywhere. This only makes things worse.
You need comfort and safety when things go from bad to worse. When you are severely tempted, you need a good sandwich action plan. When suffering lingers for a long stretch, you need provision and nourishment from God.
Friend, you can have comfort and be refreshed. God wants to provide for you and nourish your soul. But this comes in a very unusual sandwich with ingredients none of us would have guessed. God chose these ingredients to combat loss, temptation, loneliness, and suffering.
This unusual sandwich is found in Jas. 4:7-8. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” Do you see the slices of bread and the filling?
- BREAD – “Submit yourself to God.” In all things no matter what – no exceptions. Because God is three things, you can trust Him completely as you submit to Him. He is 1. all-powerful, 2. loving, 3. good. Submitting to Him is the safest thing you can do. That’s your first slice of bread.
- FILLING – “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In all things no matter what – no exceptions. Because the enemy is three things, you simply must resist him. He is 1. father of lies, 2. hateful, 3. evil. You have been given the “heads-up” for your best strategy against the enemy. Resist! This advice is immediately followed with a strong promise. If you truly resist, your enemy will flee from you. You won’t be running. He will! That’s your filling.
- BREAD – “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” In all things no matter what – no exceptions. God loves you and wants to provide support. He will give you power and strength to do the right thing. He will comfort, provide wisdom, and intervene. (Is. 66:13; Jas. 1:5; Is. 59:16) But you must be close to Him to receive His support. That’s your second slice of bread.
What Are You Eating These Days?
Where are you going for help, safety, and comfort? Who intervenes for you? Is someone providing wisdom, direction, and companionship in your difficulties? What about strength in temptation?
You need support – a good sandwich in your stress? Don’t take the sandwich you threw together in desperation, flip it around with stuff flying everywhere as you talk to yourself – angry about what has happened – wondering where on earth God is in your struggles?!
Simply Submit – Resist – Come near.
Bread Of Life
Jesus calls Himself the Bread Of Life – for you! He invites you to “feed on Him.” I know that sounds a bit weird, but take the allegory as Jesus intended. Jn. 6: 51a says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” He is saying – “take in what I offer. Submit to Me and My ways. Because you can trust Me, you will find yourself nourished, safe, comforted, and loved.”
He is also saying – “don’t listen to the enemy. He will trick you with lies. My sandwich has power to help you make good decisions. If you let me, I will support you with power and strength to do what is right. I will comfort you, provide all you need. Eat of Me and be satisfied!”
What a sandwich! Bread, filling, and more bread. The Son of God who fed the multitudes with bread and fish wants to feed your life.
Here’s how this looks – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) He feeds you as you trust Him.
I remember when this verse really landed for me. I was on my treadmill, working on memory verses years ago. When I got to Gal. 2:20 and repeated it again and again to get the words in my brain – the meaning suddenly landed. I started tearing up as I ran. The Son of God loves me . . . and gave Himself for me! It was a game-changer for me. Every need – provided by God who loves me. “Eating the Bread of Life.”
I urge you – always go for God’s sandwich when you have any kind of hunger in life. “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8a)
The person who gets nourished deeply by God is humble. God favors that person. And He gives extra grace to the person who is not arrogant. Jas. 4:6 says, “. . . He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ “
The “take-away” is two-fold.
- Do I really want to put myself in a position where God will oppose me?
- It is totally in my control to receive God’s favor – if I simply humbly myself.
And there’s even more than that. God wants to make His home in you. He wants you to be His “resting place.” Is. 66:1 says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?”
In the Old Testament, God dwelled on the Mercy Seat – the lid of the Ark of the Covenant kept in the Tabernacle first, and later, in the Temple. After Jesus came, God’s home became the hearts of His people. You and me. Rev. 21: 3 uses this phrase – “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them.” 1 Cor. 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you, yourselves, are God’s temple?”
Comfort In The Sandwich Of God’s Love
When you come near to God, He promises to come near to you . . . very near. His Spirit lives inside you. You will, indeed, taste and see He is good. You will be filled with His goodness and amazed at His love for you – the One who loved you and gave Himself for you!
Simply put? God makes a really good sandwich. And there is so much safety and comfort in how He nourishes your life, even to your deepest inner spirit.
What has your experience been finding comfort in a sandwich? Maybe you prefer pizza? God specializes in pizza, too. In fact, there is nothing under the sun He has not creatively made to encourage and delight His precious children.
Do you see God’s love like this? Is it delightful to you? Safe? Comforting?
Two Spiritual Comfort Foods
To stick with our allegory of a sandwich, let’s consider two things that feed your soul and give you comfort. These both nurture you, but it may surprise you to consider that one is something you need to surrender to in absolute obedience. The other is a tool used for prodding to stay on a good path, nudging, even loving discipline. Here they are.
- God’s Ancient Laws – are intended to nurture you as you surrender into faith and obedience to them. Ancient means from the beginning of time. Original design. The intended plan. So, by you eagerly adopting God’s Laws in your daily life, you will automatically be fed. Nurtured. Growing into maturity. This is comforting. Ps. 119:52 says, “I remember, Lord, Your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.”
- God’s Rod and Staff – are shepherd tools to keep sheep going the right direction. They nudge and hem you in on the right path. Sometimes the rod is a discipline tool to help you walk away from the wrong kind of sandwich – and to instead eat the right kind of sandwich. David said, “Your rod and staff – they comfort me!” (Ps. 23:4)
- What kind of sandwich are you eating for safety and comfort these days?
- Does your sandwich include the Bread of Life?
- What kind of filling is in your sandwich? How about God’s promises and commands?
- Do you believe God loves you and wants to nourish your life?
- What do you need to change in your beliefs and choices to start getting fed properly?
- Are you finding comfort in God’s ancient laws – and from His rod and staff?
Some of the thoughts in this article came from Celebrate Advent, Dec. 1 and from Jas. 4:7-8.