God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
A couple of things that comfort me are right on my front porch: My rocking chair and swing with an old quilt and pillows tucked around me. I love the way rocking or swinging can slow me down. These things have been known to bring a racing heartbeat down to a normal level. If I’m uptight, there is just something soothing about the swaying motion of these moving seats. Maybe it goes all the way back to babyhood when my mom would rock to soothe me. That sounds like something a psychologist would say, doesn’t it?
And then there is comfort food. Mine is wonderfully delicious, warm potato soup served in a bread bowl. And chocolate is good for just about anything! I wonder what a psychologist would have to say about that?
To go much deeper than mere surface comfort, the Holy Spirit gives real comfort deep in the soul. We read in the Bible that the Holy Spirit comforted the disciples after Jesus’ physical presence left them and He returned to Heaven. He has comforted me many times. There is so much comfort in knowing that God keeps His promises. Even the best psychologist cannot duplicate the kind of comfort that comes from the Holy Spirit.
The Bible warns us though, not to settle for comfort without commitments. God’s comfort is especially designed to meet us when we are not comfortable. We are called to win people to Christ and glorify God with our lives. That is not going to happen if we always stay in our comfort zone. Sometimes we have to sacrifice to achieve results. We are told to endure rigorous discipline and train hard (2 Tim. 2:3).
Sometimes we have to get up and leave our comfort zone to do what we are called to do, to be a blessing to others and to God. In the end we become blessed ourselves.
We could always stay in our comfort zone, but what does that accomplish? We would not grow and mature. It would become boring after awhile. We risk not meeting interesting people. We risk not being able to help anyone. We wouldn’t feel fulfilled. And how does God get glory from our life when we’re always sitting in our comfort zone?
I stayed in my comfort zone for many years because of fear and feeling inadequate. I was being more a fear-thinker than a faith-believer. But one year I finally took the plunge and ventured out of that safe place of comfort. It took a year for a friend to convince me to join, but I finally joined a large evangelism team from my former church.
The Holy Spirit was also working on me. I finally jumped right into the most uncomfortable place I could be – having to memorize Scriptures. And then there was the really big uncomfortable place, visiting people I didn’t know in their homes, sharing the gospel message, and praying out loud with them.
But you know what? The Holy Spirit was with me every time, bringing words to my mind and out of my mouth. This time of my life became one of many, big blessings and the biggest spiritual growth spurt I have ever experienced. My heart may have been thumping hard up in my throat, but after awhile it became like riding a bike. After some practice, it became easy and fun. My heart rate became normal again.
I met so many interesting people, had wonderful conversations with them, and even saw some join our church or other churches for the first time. I had meaningful, tearful prayer times with some. They were all very appreciative of our visits and I received many hugs. I would have missed all of that had I stayed in my comfort zone. I left that time of my life stronger, knowing I could venture anywhere God led me because He would be with me all the way, every day, through every moment.
Little did I know years later, He would send me into hospitals to offer lunch bags and prayers to strangers in the waiting rooms and even in the patients’ rooms.
Little did I know years later, He would send me over and under bridges to offer God’s Word, His love, and blankets to homeless men and women.
Little did I know years later, He would tell me to write.
I didn’t want to.
I believed I had no talent for this. I argued with Him – can you believe that? I told Him I didn’t know how. I didn’t even want to. He reminded me how He put words into Moses’ mouth when he thought he could not speak eloquently. He reminded me of how He put the words into me when I was evangelizing. I don’t know if I wanted His voice to stop or if I decided to step out in obedience, but I did step out yet again. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I began to write. The words have been coming ever since.
If God ever hounds you to do something, I suggest you do it! Writing has been a form of therapy for me – I suspect God knew that – and I have loved it ever since. I became part of a community that is faithful, dependable, and oh, so loving! I am meeting people from all over the world. I have new prayer partners as well as becoming one for them. This community has blessed me, and if it were not for me stepping out of a comfort zone, it would have never happened.
God’s love is the biggest comfort I know. It is unfailing; it is dependable; His love will never leave or forsake me. I can always count on it no matter what. And because of His comfort and unfailing love, I now have new precious people in my life.
So yes, God brings things and people to comfort us, but I don’t believe He wants us to stay in a comfort zone for too long. I think once we’ve been comforted, then it is time for us to get out there and comfort others. Let’s take His unfailing love and go share it.
I need to get out of this swing now. I have a friend I need to go visit.
. . .through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:5)
Pause and Reflect:
- What comforts you?
- How has God comforted you?
- Where has God taken you that you thought you would never go?
- Is He calling you to do something out of your comfort zone?