Comfort

“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if he doesn’t come through.” Francis Chan

I came across this quote again recently. It’s a comforting and risky concept. I think we all at one point or another need a reminder to trust God, that he is trustworthy. It is a comforting reminder in that it’s encouraging, but a lot of times, trusting God is an action done in spite of comfort.

What is comfort for you? Is it defined by the people around you – your close friends and family, people with whom you can fully be yourself? Is it the security of a steady job and income? Is it where you live – a place you can call your own, with furniture and clothes that fit your style, with warm water and a deliciously stocked pantry? Or maybe something else?

I remember recognizing in the beginning of my GoCorps adventure that this is a huge step outside of my comfort zone. Committing to a two-year placement thousands of miles away from my family and friends, raising support full-time for months, and moving to a different continent to live and work with people who were initially strangers – that’s not comfortable. But over time, that new place became home and those new people became family. It wasn’t perfectly comfortable since in some ways I was still culturally and spiritually an outsider, but it was familiar. It was my new comfort zone. Having to leave that country prematurely and spend my last six months in a new country is yet another step outside my comfort zone.

The Lord has provided in so many ways just in this first month in my new host country, and I trust that he will provide whatever else I may need, but even as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that he isn’t providing for the sake of my comfort. Yes, he knows my desire for a few more pieces of furniture and a couple close friends. Yes, he knows how stressful and isolating it feels when I don’t understand the local language. In the right time, he will provide the rest of my furniture, some good friends, and the ability to communicate in this new language, but in the waiting and the trusting, he is drawing my gaze back to him. I’m not comfortable; I’m needy, and that means I have to rely on him more and more.

The Lord is taking care of me, and he keeps reminding me of his presence through each little bit of provision. Instead of complaining about what I don’t have and how uncomfortable that makes me, I can praise him for his past, present, and future provision in my life. Regardless of my level of comfort.

Now that I’m thinking through comfort zones, I remember a point that my former roommate and I came to a few years ago: Jesus can be our comfort zone. People, places, and circumstances in life can change, but Jesus is forever. And that’s what enables us to step outside of our earthly comfort zones, “unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if he doesn’t come through,” because he is trustworthy, faithful, and eternal.