She Walks in Obedience
"It Makes Me Feel Comfortable!"
A few months ago in our evening family time, we were reminiscing about places we love to visit, and in which we haven’t been able to visit with Covid shutdowns this past year. Being California natives, Disneyland of course came up, and we all had this sigh on our lips as we thought of the happy and wonderful memories we have created in that place. My 7 year old son sat with a contemplative look on his face struggling to find the right word that would describe how Disneyland makes him feel. Finally, he blurted out, “I miss Disney SO much, it just makes me feel so ….. comfortable!!!!! Ahhh! Wait… What? Comfortable? I couldn’t help but catch my husband’s eye and between a giggle and a raising of the eyebrows, asked Blake why he thinks Disneyland makes him comfortable. He spoke of things like it’s so beautiful with the flowers and trees, the rides are super fun, there’s this exciting music always playing, and who could forget all of the yummy things to eat and smell, etc.
As I contemplated this word describing the “Happiest Place on Earth,” I found that appropriately this word "comfortable"actually make sense, even though it was a word far removed from my adjectival senses of Disneyland.
To the human being, the pursuit of happiness is often what drives us in our daily life. We tend to surround ourselves with friends, living conditions, activities, foods and smells that make us feel the most comfortable in order to attain this happiness. Any circumstance, relationship, or activity that doesn’t pass the test of comfort, we try to eliminate as much as we can. It isn’t always possible, but we make every attempt to fortify our defenses against anything that would harm our happiness or that of our family’s.
I believe we see this desire to seek comfort particularly in the Biblical story of Jonah. You won’t be hearing anything new by me spotlighting Jonah’s disobedience to God’s command and running from His very presence, but there are a few things that stood out to me and raised questions of my own state of heart that I could identify with Jonah’s situation.
Jonah was a child of Israel, a Prophet of the Lord, and one who served and feared God. Comparatively, I am a child of God, a follower of Christ, and one who serves and fears the Lord. Yet, we find in the story of Jonah a will to disobey the commands God made of him. “Go to Nineveh and proclaim My judgment to the land for their sins. They will be destroyed if they do not repent.” God was asking Jonah to leave his home (uncomfortable), to travel to his own people’s enemies (very uncomfortable), to proclaim repentance so God wouldn’t destroy a people that most likely the Israelites were actively praying for God to destroy (extremely uncomfortable).
No wonder Jonah didn’t want to obey. He says in Jonah 4:2 that he knew God was merciful and would spare this wicked nation if he went and preached this warning! Can you just hear the questions and thoughts of Jonah?
How could a God that cares for Israel ask me to preach to these people? How can He offer them the same mercy He gives to His own people, Israel? Why would God spare a people who have so wickedly lived and tormented us? I’m going to die. They will probably torture me. My friends and family will hate me if God spares them. Jonah, like every other Israelite, wanted them to die….not to be rescued, certainly, not to be restored. He wanted the fire of God's judgment to fall on them and consume them.
Jonah’s response is often how I respond to God when He asks something hard that will put me into an uncomfortable situation or a direct attack against my perceived happiness. I resist the command, I run from God, and then I justify with my own human wisdom why this isn’t a good idea. I take my comfort into my own hands.
When temptation comes to disobey God’s commands or His Spirit’s leading, remember we can be rescued by Jesus, Who is the only one Who has always perfectly obeyed. Jesus is the perfect “Jonah.” He is the perfect substitute that willingly put Himself in the greatest degree of discomfort imaginable in order to obey His Father’s will and redeem the world. He came to His enemies and preached repentance so that we could be spared the judgment of God. He gave up the comforts of heaven and hid His glory so that He could be humbled and tortured and forsaken, all to save the world from destruction.
How thankful I am for this beautiful display of obedience to ultimately bring about perfect comfort and joy to all who believe! I’m thankful that Jesus rescues me when I run and resist His will, and that I can be restored through His endless mercy!
Contemplate today what God has been asking you to do, for He is asking but often we shut Him out or excuse His voice as something else. We don’t want the discomfort, or perhaps we are afraid of the sacrifice He might ask us to make. Whatever it is, Jesus can rescue you and you will find extreme joy and blessing in obeying Him.
Walk joyfully in obedience today because Jesus gives you the ability and will to do so.