I’ve cried so many tears this month they have likely comprised a measurable amount. There is so much pain and sorrow in my life, my family’s life, my friends’ lives, and the world around us. I find I am in a zone where I need some comfort.
What do we consider to be comforting within our zones? Our homes? Being surrounded by family? Having a cuddly blanket? Experiencing some peace and quiet? Eating chocolate? These might be our default settings for times of difficulty, but what about the comfort zones we erect during days that are not filled with grief—a comfy couch, our favorite shows, a good book, good friends, our hobbies? Whatever the comforts are, and in whatever seasons of life we seek them, there is a commonality—they are mostly all about ourselves. But God did not design us to remain focused on ourselves. We are supposed to live to bring Him glory through our love and service to Him and others.
It can be a scary prospect, or an inconvenient one, to step outside our comfort zones, but the truth of the matter is, life is not designed to be stationary. We are to move forward in the purpose for which God created us.1 We are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.2 And in order to do that, we have to enter their zones. We have to be aware of others and be involved with them.
There are an untold number of people who need us to enter their zones and bring them comfort. How do we accomplish this? If we know the God of all comfort, then we are capable of bringing comfort to others. He will comfort us in all our difficult times, and later, we will be able to use that to comfort others. God can bring comfort to our minds, knowing we will spend eternity with Him after these difficult days are over. He can bring comfort to our hearts, knowing He is sovereign. In the midst of the bewilderment and grief, the comfort of His presence can be known, but how many people remain unaware of this fact? Unless we move out of our comfort zones, they may never know.
We have the good news of the gospel, and people could really use some good news right now. But in order to deliver the news, we need to shift the focus from ourselves onto others. In order to love God and love others, we have to take action. We have to move past ourselves, let go of our selfishness, forego our self-interest, shift our self-focus, and surrender our self-preservation. Our purpose here is not to “get all we can and can all we get,” making ourselves rich, pretty, and famous. God placed us here to serve Him and serve others. Our treasures are not to be in earthly things but in things of eternal purpose.
At times, we will need to linger in our comfort zones while God is ministering to our hurts and our needs, equipping and preparing us for what’s next, but then comes the time to step out, to cross the line and enter the zones of others—showing them the way of hope and peace, showing them Christ, showing them the God of all comfort.
Let all that you do be done with love. 3
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.5
1 See Philippians 3:12.
2 See Romans 12:15.
3 1 Corinthians 16:14
4 2 Corinthians 2:14–15
5 2 Corinthians 1:3–4
Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
©Text and photo Francee Strain, August 29, 2021