I really like my comfort zone. In fact, I tend to snuggle in with my favorite blankie and stuffed toy (it’s name was Pinkie, BTW, a big fuzzy stuffed dog of said color that I remember my big brother swinging around the room to irritate me—which worked.) Only now my favorite toys are a bit more expensive (a house, a couple of cars, old though they be…) and I frequently wrap myself in my favorite “blankie” (my marriage, my family and friends, my health, such as it is….) It’s not a perfect mountaintop, but it’s the one I live on, if you get my metaphorical drift, and I’m thankful for it.
Of course, when you’re married to a science teacher like my husband, the metaphorical tends to become the concrete. He likes to point out practical things like, “Yep, those mountains were brought about by earthquakes, two Teutonic plates vying for the same space, and….”
You get it.
In this instance, however, the point is well taken in that sometimes God has to shake us up to get us off the mountaintop and out of our comfort zone, since in reality, we are called into the war for His kingdom. But we’re in good company:
“When we were at Mount Sinai, the LORD our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country…Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the LORD swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”
Interestingly, God could have provided everything His people needed right there on that particular mountain. (You know, because He’s God.) But also because He’s God, He knew that was not the best for them, it was not His fulfillment of the promise for them, and God is not One to settle for anything less than the best in, for, and through them. And us. For His kingdom.
A few other things had to take place, and much later, the psalmist put it like this:
“You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver…We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance.”
Unlike other kingdom conflicts happening on our current timeline, the Christian conflict is a spiritual one for our culture, our children, and even our own hearts and minds. It’s uncomfortable (to put it mildly), but it is the place where God promises not only His peace, but most importantly, His presence—His Truth in the midst of turmoil, His koinonia in the midst of conflict.
Given my ‘druthers, I’d sometimes rather hang out on the mountain than join the fight in the valley, but reader beware: because of the Father’s love, if a little shaking doesn’t do it, He may turn the mountain into a volcano.
Deut 1:6-8; Psalm 66: 10,12 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.