My friend Anna got married two days before Christmas. We sat in a cafe one Saturday in November and she told me of her wedding plans. Quietly, I sipped my coffee and listened, sort of wishing I had been invited. After John’s funeral I wanted, for some reason, to attend a wedding and remember what it was like to celebrate happy things. Am I wrong to say there is no happiness in death?
The following day, Anna asked me to play violin in her ceremony. So there I was, two days before Christmas playing music and feeling so much happiness. The song Anna chose for us to play was called “Shall not Want” by Audrey Assad. The lyrics begin,
From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God
As we played I thought of how everyone strives for comfort. Even me. Comfort is something I love, maybe even idolize. I believe I hold tightly to comfortable things in the uncertainty of tomorrow. But then again, comfort is overrated. I almost feel as if God is calling me to give up my life of comfort in this new year.
It’s sort of liberating to do the things I always thought of doing but failed to do because they lingered outside of what I deemed comfortable. Good things, of course, like praying for someone aloud, like buying a bowl of soup for a homeless man, like giving more that I feel obliged. These are all uncomfortable things but they involve living for the God of all comfort in a selfless and radical manner.
Last week in Virginia I found myself hesitating when God asked me to give double the cost of the conference to the Richmond church. I reluctantly penned my name in my check book and dropped the check into the offering box.
When I got home from the conference there was a letter sitting on my desk. Inside was a check from Anna for playing in her wedding. I really hadn’t expected her to pay me and to my astonishment the amount was exactly what I’d given extra in Richmond. I began to realize that living comfortably is really overrated, especially when we serve the God of all things.
Something else I find uncomfortable is losing a friend. And even more so, seeing the ramifications of that lost friend, the hurting ones who miss him most. The aftermath is far more than uncomfortable to watch. It’s disturbing. But God has called me out of my comfortable space. I turn the page and see that this book of life has more characters that need love and comfort than I do.
My prayer is for God to deliver me from a love of my own comfort and to guide me through life’s desserts and valleys with a faith so strong I don’t need to rely on the comforts of this world.