Last weekend was the Singles' retreat at my church. I almost didn't go. I actually fought with myself about why I didn't want to go. I was very assured in the fact that I'm getting too old for these things. I like my own bed. I don't like when I don't get enough sleep. And I am kind of grouchy to be around when I don't get enough sleep. And it lasts throughout the whole next week when I don't get enough sleep for two days in a row. Plus, I have not been hanging out with the group as much and felt like it might be a little awkward. I tried not to be reassured when I learned that many of my friends were going. I tried not to be reassured when I started forming friendships with the newer people in the group now that I am attending Bible study with them. I just didn't want to go. I was comfortable not going.
But, when my stubbornness is not kicking in, I am kind of a pushover. So I got talked into going. Friday night came and I was still a little skeptical. I was willing to go, but I didn't have to be super joyful about it! Friday night I loaded into one of the church vans and headed to a camp about 45 minutes away to join around 40 other people. We arrived at the camp at 8:30 and, to this old soul, it was already late. But we had our first session that night. And what did Dan start off talking about?
How do you define comfort? Really, God? Is this a joke? Because I define comfort as laying on the couch with a good book or a good movie or a good TV show. Not listening to a speaker at 9:00 at night. And yet I was sucked in. Yes, I find comfort in these things. Plus a hooded sweatshirt on a cold night. And hot chocolate. And lazy Saturday mornings. And family. And bright sunshine on a clear day. But do any of these things bring me lasting comfort? The Bible clearly says no! Only my relationship with Jesus Christ can bring me the kind of comfort that I crave. Everything else will not last. The cup of hot chocolate will get cold. The book will end. The sweatshirt will shrink or fade with age or it will get too hot and I won't be able to wear it. The sun will set or it will rain. None of these things can bring me lasting comfort.
Over the course of the weekend, Dan spoke from the first four chapters of 2 Corinthians. We talked about comfort in the midst of suffering. I realized how easy it is for me to want to be delivered out of being uncomfortable instead of seeking comfort in the midst of a situation. I learned that I am to be the aroma of Christ to an unbelieving generation. I learned that I cannot know Christ if I am not seeking His promises and claiming them as my own. I learned that I am like a jar of clay that should be clean, ready to be filled by Christ, and available for God's use.
And to top it off, I got more sleep than I expected. I was still tired and it was still a hard week. But it was worth the things I learned. It was worth it because I grew in my knowledge of who God is in my life. I had great fellowship with friends in Christ. I made new friends and reconnected with old friends. I laughed until I cried on at least three occasions (and there were probably more). I was humbled by my sin. And I rejoiced that God has not given up on me yet.
How do you define comfort? And how will you be challenged to define comfort different than you have in the past?
1 week ago