An Interesting Paradox


Reflecting this morning on God and His mysterious ways, I stumbled upon what is probably an ancient paradox, but I state it here again because it is so valuable. God wants us to be not in a place of comfort but in a place of peace. We are often willing to make very large concessions to remain in an oasis of physical, intellectual, and emotional comfort. We are creatures of entropy--we like things to run smoothly as they have always run.

But God does not want this for us. I'm sure that He has nothing against comfort, but comfort is not the highest good and the name of comfort is often used to mask a serious malady, a deep spiritual malaise. There is nothing wrong with having money, but a great deal wrong with betraying tens or hundreds of people to get that money. And money alone may buy comfort, but it does not buy true peace.

Soren Kierkegaard is quoted in a number of sources as saying that if you are comfortable around Jesus, then you don't know Him. Jesus is a constant challenge to our integrity, our image of self, and our complacency about our situation. If we think that we're really good pals with Jesus, then we are more likely to be Judas than John.

Jesus challenges us constantly to attack the unjust status quo. We are to fight for the oppressed and be a voice to the voiceless. Thus, I have seen an inclination in Christian circles to attack those who go out to save baby seals and rain forests; however, the real edge of that attack should not be the concern thereby expressed for the proper stewardship of Earth's resources, but the practical hypocrisy of those groups that then march in favor of abortion. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a strong sense of the sacredness and wonder of Nature, a strong affinity for what St. Francis and St. John of the Cross both loved. But if that comes uncoupled from an even stronger love for God and His Word, then it strays from the true.

Jesus challenges us to reevaluate our preconceptions, misconceptions, and viewpoints at all times. He forces us to examine motives, actions, and thoughts. And yet in all of this, while there may be no comfort, there can be great peace.

His Peace transcends words--even for St. Paul--and it doesn't come in complacency and comfort. His Peace comes when we truly love Him. It cannot come otherwise. It is rather like a married couple truly in love--where the spouse is, peace may be, even though the world all around them is in turmoil. There may be challenges to comfort, obstacles to resting in His peace, but in Love with Him, there is always peace. This is one of the great witnesses of the Martyrs. Truly they showed magnificent love of Jesus Christ, but equally they show amazing peace with all things around them.

So, part of our prayer time could profitably be spent examining whether we are resting in His peace, or relying upon creature comforts. If the latter, we might need to spend a bit of time discerning where God wants us to be and what He wants us to be doing because , "our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, O Lord."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 2, 2003 8:05 AM.

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