Do you remember this recent post: Daydreams? As I wrote it, I prayed a couple of things. First, I prayed that God would not allow me to procrastinate if those thoughts really were from Him. Secondly, I prayed that He would continually confirm the action along the way to help counteract doubt, fear and discouragement. Third, I prayed He would get my ideas out of the way and let His shine through.
He started answering those prayers immediately.
And it makes me nervous.
When I read of heroes from Scripture and the biographies of Christian heroes since the close of Scripture, I notice a major component in their lives. None of them were allowed to remain in their comfort zone. They accomplished great things for God. They glorified His Name in many ways. Sometimes the accomplishments remained quiet and mostly unacknowledged outside their immediate circles. Other times, their fame spread far and wide and people everywhere knew their names and deeds. Either way, they were outside their comfort zones.
That does not mean that God did not use the abilities and gifts He placed in them when He knit them together in the womb. In fact, God chose His heroes before their birth, creating them with just the abilities He desired they have that they might accomplish His purposes. But our human accomplishments through those natural abilities do not at all resemble God’s accomplishments through those same strengths. He takes them far beyond anything we could accomplish. He takes us far from our comfort zone and challenges us in ways that greatly exceed our imagination or comprehension.
Each of us faces a choice. Will we be content to remain in our comfort zones as we utilize the abilities God has placed within us? Or will we be willing to let God lift us out of that comfort zone and take us to places only He can go? We also must heed a warning. If we simply decide to go with the flow, that default choice keeps us in our comfort zones. Letting God work through us requires an active step of obedience.
Through it all, we will face discouragement. We will deal with doubt, fear, and even apparent failure. Don’t believe me? Read about Abraham’s long wait for a child. Explore the story of Joseph. Remind yourself of Daniel’s night in the lion’s den, the disciples’ struggles with doubt, and Paul’s many experiences of persecution. Read of Adoniram Judson’s bitter losses and the many times George Mueller wondered how God was going to feed all the orphans in his care. Journey along with Gladys Aylward in her fight to get to China because the mission organization would not send her. Then read of her excruciating journey to protect the orphans in her care. Learn about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and realize that he was executed just days before he could have been freed.
Each name represents a child of God who stepped outside of their comfort zone to allow God to use the abilities He placed in them. Each story reveals doubts, struggles, wrong turns, sin, and disappointments. But each one also shows how God glorified Himself in amazing ways, handing down a legacy of faith for the rest of us to follow.
We may be frightened and uncertain, but God has a path for each one of us that takes us out of our comfort zone. Our story may never be well known like those I listed above, but that does not make it less important. It does not decrease its ability to glorify God. I don’t know about you, but I hunger to glorify God today, no matter how much the unknown frightens me.