I’ve been thinking a lot lately about COMFORT. How we like it, how we arrange our lives and our schedules to create as many moments of it as we can get.
I am chief among comfort seekers. I love nothing better than a warm fire, cozy blanket and hot drink while being surrounded by my favorite people. While that isn’t wrong in and of itself and I believe the Lord even delights in blessing us with those moments, I also believe he has called us to be people that do hard and holy things.
As a family we have walked through some really hard things, some of which I cannot even share the extent of. Even the past several weeks my son Jake has been facing some full out frontal attacks on his faith and who he stands for as a Christian. It has caused me to revisit some truths the Lord taught me and also look back.
Sometimes I reflect about how easy it was to be a believer who didn’t press in. It was more like a club I belonged to that came with a get out of jail/hell free card. I used to coast along on my good intentions and efforts to be a good person and fell asleep at night with no care about tomorrow and no longing in my heart to see a dark world reconciled to their God.
But what is that but a religion that I made all about me? Salvation for me, peace of mind for me, prayers for me.
Beloved, if we are to be the light bearers that God call us to be, we must step out. We must leave our comfort zones. Sometimes those are places in our minds that we have set up camp, that say, “I will spend time with you because you are just like me, therefore you are worthy of my time. You don’t challenge me, you don’t speak truth to me we just coast with each other. I like coasting!” We also must step out of the rigid idea that life must look the way we think it MUST look.
I remember my husband facing a particular challenge day after day and year after year. This went on for more than 15 years. We begged God to deliver him from this challenge that he had to face. I especially didn’t believe that it was God’s will that he should face it. It was so hard on him and many times he became discouraged because of it. But at the end of the day he would say to me. “God can deliver me if he wants, but if he does not want, to he will not and I will continue to face it.” He told me that God was teaching him to love difficult people. Eventually, he was relieved of this affliction, 5 months before he was diagnosed with brain cancer and two years before He went home to be with Jesus.
Sometimes beloved the road is hard and while my flesh cried out that Alan hadn’t had enough time to enjoy living without that affliction. My spirit cried louder that his heart was silver refined in the furnace and then taken home to His King to enjoy all the peace this world can’t bring.
Perspective shifted. I still pray for God to protect and deliver and He does many times. But, I also pray that God would open doors for us to walk through to share his goodness with others. I pray for him to break our hearts wide open with love for the ones he will leave the 99 to go after. Now I am watching him send out the ones I hold dearest to dark places that desperately need the light. I am watching the evil one do everything he can to put that light out…. But God.
Two very powerful words… “But God.”
This is the truth beloved. We were made to do hard and holy things. Whom shall we fear and What can man do to us?(Ps. 118:6) Our help comes from the Lord the maker of Heaven and Earth. I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord.(Ps.121)
I encourage each of you to ask the Lord to help you step out in some way and be brave. I don’t know what that will look like for each of you, but I know we serve a personal God and He wants an army that will race on to the battlefield and not shrink back and take up residence as professional bench warmers that talk about the game but never join it. Then, when you do that brave thing, stop and pray for someone else who is walking brave! Then we will fight with one arm and be the shield bearer for someone else and the kingdom will advance For His Glory.