So, where is it you want to go? Where is it you expect your faith to take you in life?… .or maybe faith is an accouterment , something you coyly admit to when you’re at a party? Truth is, you really hope that people, especially strangers are impressed by your admission! Seeking order and comfort, right? Surely a deeply rooted faith provides a comfort in life that is unattainable any other way. Maybe. I guess that depends on what your concept of comfort is.
If we study the scriptures closely we see that the idea of comfort for Jesus as well as his followers is way down on the list. They walked everywhere. They rode uncomfortable beasts. They were subject to weather, and they never stayed in five-star accommodations. Think nativity! There were things that were simply of more importance in their ministry. Jesus never taught that faith would bring comfort in the way we think about it as modern believers. I have had the experience of some who actually equate the level of comfort in their lives as a demonstrated witness to their level of faith. I bet you have had that experience too. You know, those who teach things like: “This is going to be a changing day in your life.” ” Jesus tells me, you are the one to be healed, right now.”, and so on.
It’s not that all of scripture does not point to God’s desire for our personal prosperity. It does. God’s definition of prosperity, though, is focused on giving us the ability to live with him in perpetual bliss forever. A physical prosperity might be part of that or it might not. God wishes for us, rather, a prosperity of desire that drives everything we do. Long before Jesus came to us God revealed His heart’s desire for the human race. He has been doggedly working with us ever since to accomplish His goal. Unfortunately, we have a great capacity to ignore or dismiss His hopes for us. In this stunning quote from the Old Testament we see that God’s hopes for the City of God preceded, by centuries, Aquinas’ discernment:
Ever present in your midst, I will be your God, and you will be my people; Leviticus 26:12
Comfort, in the light of God’s faith in us, takes on a completely different dimension. It’s easy enough to be romanced
by the idea of a space of our own that is always abundant, always safe and always happy. The truth is we do not have the ability to make that a reality in a world where sin exists. We can aim at a nice home and good job and a happy family, but circumstances happen. Our ability to hang on to or establish comfort in this world is really an illusion. It has nothing to do with the results or fruit of our own personal faith. Looking at the truth of that can be a scary possibility but there’s also wisdom in facing that:
“When one has nothing more to lose, the heart is inaccessible to fear.” St. Theodore Guerin
Mother Guerin teaches us how to expand our faith to a place of invulnerability The idea of comfort as a barometer of faith takes on a completely different dimension. Like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Damien of Molokai and all of the early martyrs, we need to develop a more discerning eye when it comes to spotting faith Maybe that Rolex, Coach Bag, custom tailored clothing and big house are not all they are cracked up to be? Hmmmmmm!
Copyright © 2017, Kathryn M. Cunningham