With the awakening of spring, I find myself entering a transition time in my life. Our teen group at church has wrapped up for the summer; I'm taking a hiatus from teaching music lessons for a while; our foster daughter's case seems to be heading towards adoption and we'll be having our 4th child in just a few weeks. The leaves are finally exploding onto all the trees, my tulips are blooming, and our home feels like a cozy little sanctuary. Life has begun to slow down for the the first time in months and my husband and I are loving it. We've been enjoying evenings free to do whatever we'd like, working out in the yard and talking about some camping trips this summer.
Life has suddenly become pretty comfortable and the pull to stay here is so strong. But I can hear the warning siren going off in my head even as I write this. As good as this feels, I know we can't get used to living this way.
For those of us Christians who live in America we rarely face violence, persecution and suffering. However, we face a different danger and it's much less obvious.
You see, we live in a society of comforts and it's all too easy to get caught up in them. Life can become our own little world of enjoying our families, homes, careers and creature comforts. But, the desire for "comfortable" has the power to debilitate the church from stepping out as a light into the darkness that so desperately needs us. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that we cannot find joy from the blessings God has given us while we live here on earth. The danger is shying away from the challenging things God has called us to do in order to protect and keep earthly comforts.
Sometimes, I watch the news with its stories of abductions, terrorists, war, death, and immorality and I just want to turn it off and hide in my cozy back yard and pretend the world beyond my comfortable life doesn't exist. It turns my stomach to think of young girls trapped in a life of sex trafficking with little hope for escape. It breaks my heart to think of all the women in the inner city choosing abortion. I don't like thinking about the teens in our local high school struggling with drug addiction, pornography and eating disorders.
But as much as I'd like to pretend these things aren't happening, it just isn't true. The reality is that this world is a dark and dangerous place with much suffering and pain. There is only one solution to the depravity of this world and that solution is the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only did Jesus win our eternal salvation, but he set down for us an incredible example of what love looks like. He left the ultimate "comfort zone" (living in heaven with God) and came down to our sinful world in order to rescue us.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! - Philippians 2:4-8
Jesus knows that love takes sacrifice.
Opening up your home to a child from foster care is hard work, it throws comfortable and easy out the window. But what are the gains? Not only the opportunity for a child to grow up in a loving home with a mom and a dad, but hopefully, a soul saved for all eternity! Being there for people struggling with addiction is no easy task. But what are the gains? Sharing the chain breaking power of the Gospel and leading them to the freedom found in Jesus! Forgoing eating out, cable TV, or the latest trendy clothes in order to give more money to those in need may feel like a loss, but the TRUTH of God's Word tells another story:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21
Ultimately, the more and more I let God open up my eyes and break my heart over the things that are going on in the world around me, the more and more I realize how we aren't supposed to sit around waiting in a safe little bubble trying to avoid any discomfort. We've been given a mission. Go into all the world! That means go into your family, your neighborhood, your community, your local high school, or another country on the other side of the world. God hasn't called us all to the same places, but he has called ALL of us.
So let's fight it! Let's fight the lie that we are here to be comfortable; that life is about us and what feels good. Life is about Jesus and doing whatever it takes to tell each person that God places in our lives that incredible news. It might feel strange; it might hurt; it might be less comfy-cozy, but it's what Jesus did, and it's what I want to do too!