Spiritual Growth

Comfort Seeker or Jesus Follower?

As I’m tucking my son in at bedtime, I ask him the same question I ask most nights: “Are you cozy?”  My mother’s heart for my boys feels the sweet urge to provide them comfort. 

When sickness runs through our home, I brew tea, make homemade chicken broth and get them everything they need right near their spot on the couch until they are nursed back to wellness.  When the temperature drops in the winter months, I bundle them a bit tighter before they go outside. 

We wake in the morning and put a fire in the fireplace while I make cups of hot cocoa or bowls of oatmeal to help warm them inside and out.  One aspect of my love for these two comes through my attempts to make their world more cozy – providing safe havens and soft places to land.

a mother wants to comfort her children

photo courtesy of pavan trikutam

God describes Himself as “The God of all Comfort” in 2 Cor 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Just as I long to provide security to my sons, God gives comfort to His children when hardship assails or the inclement storms of life pour down.  God is a refuge, a shield, a cleft, a stronghold.  He reminds us to take shelter in the shadow of His wings until hardship passes by. 

Jesus encourages His disciples not to be troubled or anxious.  At one point, He grieved over how He longed to gather the children of Israel to Himself as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. 

God desires to provide us shelter, safety and consolation.

God wants to provide us comfort

photo courtesy of alisa anton

A CULTURE OF COMFORT

Living in America, in a suburban, middle-class neighborhood, most of our friends and neighbors want for very little.  We occasionally have to cut back on trips to Starbucks or skip a get-away over the summer so we balance the family budget, but we are able to eat, be clothed and have luxuries without much thought. 

We live in a culture of comfort. 

Our couches invite us to curl up and relax; outside our homes we have matching patio furniture with ample cushions.  We take our comfort too.  We find consolation in food, shopping, coffee, hobbies and friendship – and chocolate, let’s not forget the chocolate. 

These lavish gifts from God sometimes seem like entitlements.  We easily and unwittingly start seeking comfort above seeking Jesus.  When it comes right down to it, we’d often rather be cozy than intimate and faithful. 

YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLES

Then storms come.  He said they would.  “In this world you will have troubles.”  There’s just no way around that.  The longer I live, and the more I talk deeply with others, the more I hear of the painful and ugly experiences people endure. 

Comfort can seem like the last thing dished out to us at the end of a buffet of disappointment, rejection, failure, heartache, loss and suffering.  Sometimes life feels like a relentless hailstorm, pelting us while we stand exposed and vulnerable.  Our inclination is to grab at comfort anyway we know how. 

We fashion umbrellas of our own making in desperate attempts to fend off the hurt.  We make feeble attempts to console and protect ourselves.

 

umbrellas

Our flesh cries out for comfort and more comfort. 

Our spirit knows the only real source of security is found in Jesus.

FINDING THE COMFORT WE SEEK

After some recent doozies in our life as a family, I have been reflecting on comfort.  What is it God really wants for us in trials?  How does our propensity to seek comfort fall in line with or clash against God’s will for us as we face hardship? 

It comes down to this.  When we seek our ease and consolation from anything or anyone other than Jesus, we will not be truly filled.  When we seek Jesus regardless of the discomfort, we will receive joy.  He provides comfort in the deep places of our hearts and much more. 

In our striving to avoid the pains of life – to live in self-satisfied comfort – we often push Jesus out of the way.  We press on to what makes us feel good instead of trusting God to be our provider in the midst of difficulties. 

GOD IS OUR REFUGE

The more I think about the sufferings of life, the more I see the redemptive nature of trials.  I’m not laying out a welcome mat for hard times.  I’m like all of you.  I want to be cozy and keep the ones I love safe – very safe. 

As much as I want to duck when arrows fly, the fact of the matter is we will face hardship.  We will be pressed down, persecuted and attacked.  We will face unthinkable losses and devastation. 

The God of all comfort won’t spare us trials, but He provides Himself as our haven when storms hit.  He wants us to turn towards Him in our pain and bring all the mixed emotions – anger, fear, doubt, worry, sadness – to Him in the process. 

raised hands

CHECK YOUR HEART

I am watching my heart more carefully to see when I am seeking comfort from anything other than Jesus.  My aim is to be a Jesus seeker, not a comfort seeker. I am asking myself this question.  Will I will sit on the sidelines of life, huddled away in my well-appointed home, or if I will step out of the comfort zone to follow Jesus? 

He didn’t seek comfort – He sought to seek and save the lost.  Am I willing to go there with Him?  


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(this post was first published June 2016 on hearts homeward)

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Deborah
    June 7, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    So well put Patty. Joy can be found in the middle of trials. I have to keep telling my self that the Lords view from eternity is so different from mine so limited by my short sightedness

    • Reply
      Patty
      June 7, 2016 at 10:36 AM

      Yes! Deborah, it is true. Still, we DO grow weary in our limited human capacity. It is okay to say, “uncle” and to pull away or just wail a bit about the hardness of situations. We carry burdens and we never need to carry them alone. You have some “light and momentary” trials that surely must feel heavy and never-ending at times. God sympathizes and welcomes your honest “ugh!” He carries you and your burden, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel the weight sometimes. I sure feel it with you, so I know He does. Thanks for letting me know you were here. I’m blessed by your presence at Hearts Homeward.

  • Reply
    gilian
    November 28, 2017 at 12:34 AM

    This is just so true. I honestly get a little guilty sometimes whenever I feel I’d rather be in the comfort of my home than spend time with people who I know needs help. We seek comfort, but true comfort lies in Jesus and doing his will. =)

    • Reply
      Patty
      November 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM

      Gillian, I’m so glad you came and left a comment. I’m super glad you brought up guilt. It’s a fine balance between knowing there are times He calls us to “come away, eat and rest” – which He does – and the pull inside us to always seek feeling comfortable instead of seeking Him to provide our comfort. He does comfort us. I’m learning I have to leave Him room to do that. When I pour on my own comfort, I’m not seeking Him. I fill the space He would fill instead of seeking Him to fill it. Just yesterday He gave me Psalm 42:5 in the NASB. It reminded me that His presence is my hope. He wants me to lean into Him to find my comfort. Nothing else will do. I hope you come back again and find encouragement and inspiration as you walk with God. Blessings.

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