2 Corinthians 1:5
For as we undergo more of the pain which Christ underwent, so through Christ does our comfort become greater.
As a wife, as a mum, as a woman, as a Christian there are times when ministry is uncomfortable. I have found that what often accompanies this uncomfortable experience are questions demanding immediate answers….Should my children be experiencing this? Is this really what our marriage needs right now? Give? Again? If I forgive am I not enabling more of this destructive behaviour? The Christian life isn’t supposed to be like this, should I get out of here? Is this God’s sign for me to quit? And the list goes on.
Different things make different people uncomfortable. For some it’s death, for some it’s crime, for some it’s swearing, for some it’s forgiveness. It does us well to remember that God knows what makes us uncomfortable. I can’t help but think of Abraham climbing the mountain with his son, prepared to sacrifice him, as God asked, hoping and having faith that God was going to provide a replacement – a saving grace. I cry each time I hear & read this part of history. While I have never been in this predicament, there are certainly times when I have to trust God, that these unconventional, uncomfortable situations will not only work for my good, but also the good of my marriage and children’s lives. The times when our routines are thrown, budgets are blown, dates are ended before they’ve even started (numerous times we’ve had our dates ambushed! One day we were headed out on a 30minute coffee catch up together, when Paul got pulled over by police to mediate a stand off between police and locals, who were so pleased that Paul ‘happened to driving past’. Over an hour later we returned home, thirsty and hungry.)
An angry drunk bloke comes through your passenger window – another guy yells out “leave them alone, they’re Christians!” Uncomfortable.
When the culture of the youth group we lead changes to something we hadn’t expected, and we are left unsure of where to from here. Uncomfortable.
When you come to the stark reality that the community you live in, is severely broken and severed from God and the workers are few, yet the work to be done is overwhelming. Uncomfortable.
When the teenager who lives with you breaks his arm at 3am and you have to transfer your kids to the van at 3am and drive him 3 1/2 hours for surgery because the hospital here cant do it. Every bit of me wants to hold on to routine and structure – that’s what children and families need to survive well, right!?. Uncomfortable.
When you realise that parents are selling their children, teenagers are selling themselves to support their smoking habits & parents are selling themselves to cover family costs because their drug habits have control of their lives. Uncomfortable.
When we have to choose between maintaining our job, or maintaining our integrity in the workplace, and maybe quitting. Uncomfortable.
Did God ever promise a comfortable life?
Where is God in the uncomfortable?
He is the comfort we should seek.
The world teaches that I should build up my comforts to protect me. Build yourselves a palace, so you have a mansion to return to to rest in after a hard days work. Build yourselves a monetary stability, so when you are unhappy you can spend a bit to cheer yourself up. Make sure you have lots of friends around you. Have a plan. Have a routine and a structure. Have a vision. Security. Protection. Comfort.
“Foolishness!” The world cries when a Christian dare speak out and point people to God for comfort.
As Christians, the question is not, what is our comfort, but who is our comfort? And the answer we have is, God.
Who was Daniel’s comfort in the lion’s den? God.
Who was David’s comfort as he stood before Goliath? God.
Comfort is not the absence of fear, or a dose of false reality, or escapism in its many forms. Comfort is peace that comes from the awareness of God’s presence and sovreignty.
So now, have no fear:for I will take care of you and your little ones. So he gave them comfort with kind words.
This is my comfort in my trouble; that your sayings have given me life.
Be shaking with fear, you women who are living in comfort; be troubled, you who have no fear of danger:take off your robes and put on clothing of grief.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7
For as we undergo more of the pain which Christ underwent, so through Christ does our comfort become greater. But if we are troubled, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which takes effect through your quiet undergoing of the same troubles which we undergo: And our hope for you is certain; in the knowledge that as you take part in the troubles, so you will take part in the comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:4
4 Who gives us comfort in all our troubles, so that we may be able to give comfort to others who are in trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who had love for us and has given us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, Give you comfort and strength in every good work and word.
My prayer is that whatever area of your life needs comfort, would be touched by God, and transformed. I also encourage you to consider the areas of your life where you create comfort and security, instead of letting go and letting God. I have found and continue to find out that as hard as surrendering to God is, in every area of our lives, it is truly freeing and satisfying.
Till next time,
One thought on “When Ministry Gets Uncomfortable…”
Very powerful… And honestly, just what I needed to hear as we step in to yet another ‘very uncomfortable’ weekend of ministry to the ‘orphans’.
Thanks you for your timely post, encouraging honesty and love for Him … It oozes off the page.
May God shower you with more and more of Him, that you might pour it out on others as living waters.
Keep pressing in, loving and being loved.
Hugs and blessings from NZ … Naggie 🙂