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Venice Beach Pier

It’s easy to get comfortable in Southern California. Living here most of my life, it really can feel like one’s living an “endless summer.” Maybe it’s because I was born here (Los Angeles) and grew up with parents who thought the best treat any kid could have was going to the beach, so they took us all the time. They were right!

That said, I’ve struggled with being uncomfortable. I mean the feeling of being uncomfortable… I’m not comfortable with it. Now hear me out.

I didn’t think a lot about God for much of my life. I was a pretty good hedonist, a pleasure seeker. If a little was good, more was better. But that can get crazy. I didn’t know that, so my pleasure seeking got me in trouble and eventually caught up with me — caused a lot of pain. My so-called peace in simply pleasure seeking was gone.

Now, it was the pain that brought me to God. I was in such emotional and mental anguish that I wanted no more of that pain. My way was no longer working. I sought answers and the answers started to come, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. But they came. At one point it became perfectly clear that Jesus was the answer.

I prayed to accept Jesus Christ into my life 15 years ago on a Wednesday, over the phone with an associate pastor of the church I was attending. On Sunday, he greeted me with his son-in-law’s Bible that he gave me and said, “Welcome to the family.”

I sat in the pew, opened up the Bible and only these verses were highlighted on the page (in fact, only one other passage was highlighted in the whole Bible) that I opened to:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7)

I had struggled with anxiety most of my life. I read those words and an overwhelming sense of peace came over me. Then it occurred to me that, without a doubt in my mind, I was headed in the right direction. Probably the surest thing I have ever felt in my life.

Now, it’s not about feeling comfortable all the time…because I’m not. But I’m more than okay with it. In fact, I know that hardship is a pathway to peace and understanding… and even growth. So, this one-time pleasure junkie can live life as it comes and it ain’t always comfortable!

It is by seeking Him that you, too, can have that peace, knowing that whether you are comfortable or not, He is with you and He will sustain you.

May you find Him now!

Alex Murashko