God and I have been having an ongoing conversation. Then again, it hasn’t been so much of a conversation as a monologue on my part. An ongoing monologue centering on my affection for comfort zones.
I like being comfortable. Working with the familiar. The predictable. Okay, maybe a switch-up now and then for a little variety. Still, I prefer those to be enjoyable exceptions, not the rule.
But comfort doesn’t stretch me to grow. The familiar doesn’t necessitate trust. And predictability doesn’t require much exercise of faith. Growth, trust, and faith—all things God intends to develop in me. And 2020 has been way more cooperative with God’s intents than with mine.
As I prepare to begin teaching the book of Genesis in a few weeks, I’m reminded of God’s dealings with the biblical patriarchs.
- Noah was called to build an ark in the middle of dry land at a time in earth’s history when humanity had not yet experienced rain.
- Abraham was called out from a comfortable city with all the conveniences of that time, to go to . . . he wasn’t told!
- Sarah was called to trust God’s promise for a child from her own body long after her body should have been able to bear a child.
- Later, Abraham’s faith was tested in ways we can’t begin to imagine as God called him to sacrifice his son of promise for whom he had waited 25 years.
- Joseph’s circumstances led to him being thrown into a pit, sold as a slave, and then falsely charged and imprisoned. All of these events helped shape him into a man who was ready for the responsibility of being second only to Pharaoh in all of Egypt.
Each of these people suffered through hardship before they saw the answers they wanted. But in each case, the hardships prepared them for their future, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
As much as I like my comfort, what I want even more is to become a person God can use for His purposes. This means stepping out of my comfort zone regularly instead of occasionally. And it means exercising trust and faith—both of which are rarely needed in familiar and predictable circumstances.
Right now, it’s difficult to see how God will use this very unusual year of 2020 for my own growth. But I’m certain He will. For now, I’ll continue to be stretched in ways that are not comfortable for the purpose of being used in ways that will give God the glory.
Will you join me? It won’t be comfortable, but it will be an adventure!