Well-known author John Ortberg is a skillful and clear writer. He also knows how to help people see the big and important things clearly. Some years ago an editor at Zondervan encouraged John and me to meet in person. We had a wonderful lunch near Willow Creek, where John was on staff at the time. At that time I had no idea that John was moving to California in a matter of two months or so. He now serves at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto.
Anita has been reading Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. She routinely shares insights with me. This one she wrote out and emailed to me two weeks ago. It is too good not to share. In chapter two, titled “Boat Potatoes,” Ortberg writes:
Too much comfort is dangerous. Literally. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley did an experiment sometime ago that involved introducing an amoeba into a perfectly stress-free environment. Ideal temperature, optimal concentration of moisture, constant food supply—the amoeba had an environment to which it had to make no adjustment whatsoever. So you would guess that that was one happy little amoeba. Whatever it is that gives amoebas ulcers and high blood pressure was gone.
Yet, oddly enough, it died.
Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation, and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us.