Comfort. The word resonates with most of us, especially if you have been or are currently going through a difficult time. There isn't a one of us who doesn't enjoy all the ideas that come to mind when someone mentions the word. Scripture has a lot to say about comfort and how God wants to comfort us and bring us rest.
On the other hand, we are constantly challenged to get outside of our "comfort zone" and not get "too comfortable" with our faith. The obvious implications being that comfort makes us lazy and apathetic about the call God gives to His followers. So, which is it that God truly desires for us--comfort or not, safety or not? Is God "schizophrenic" when it comes to His direction in regards to this area of our life?
Let me offer this explanation. Our picture of comfort nowhere resembles what God had in mind when He talked about it in Scripture. When the Savior promised comfort for His people, he wasn't talking about never facing the challenges of a real world. He didn't mean withdrawing to a "holy huddle" designed to keep us from facing danger.
Let me share two competing images. One view of the Christ-life is a gingerly stroll through a blooming meadow while birds flitter in blue skies overhead. Sweet. Not realistic in this world. The other image is the one more like what Christ has called us to--you and I in a rubber raft crashing through Class V rapids down the Colorado River...with no oars!! The difference? Christ is at the helm. And as we crash over every rapid and lean into every turn, we do so with an adrenaline rush for the life to which He has called us. Security comes not from what we are able to do in that "trip" but from knowing who "mans" the helm of our raft. He's made this trip a million times and he knows every bend of the river. He will guide us into each adventure and challenge with the promise that we do not go alone.
Here's the difference it makes--all the difference in the world. "Meadow walkers" do very little for the Kingdom that matters. Oh, they may fill a chair at church or throw in some significant cash at offering time, but their life in Christ is characterized more by how little danger there is. They do everything THEY are capable of and use their resources and gifts to the best of their ability.
"River riders" are the ones who crash the gates of Hell, who never met a soul that wasn't worth winning and who understand the meaning of the phrase "crucified with Christ." They, too, offer their gifts and talents but are continually asking God to stretch them and take them to deep places where only God can fulfill the plan through them (Luke 5:4) It is a life of comfort like you and I could never imagine on our own. It is the true "Christ-life."
One question remains. Which path will you choose?