Trusting God When You're Outside Your Comfort Zone
My family has been living in an urban neighborhood for almost four years. My husband and I, along with our first child, moved here so he could begin the process of planting a church. I was a few months pregnant with our second child—and sick (the morning sickness lasted all day long with my pregnancies). I was excited for life after seminary to begin, and yet I was struggling with our new home. Looking back, I can see how everything was orchestrated perfectly for us to be here, but I fought it at the time and begged God to change our plans. Here are three things God has taught me in the uncomfortable circumstances of life:
1. I am only as safe as God allows.
Coming from a little mountain town, I wasn't used to living in the city. The first six months we were here, there were two shootings on our street, and we had an attempted break in. Through everything, God taught me that he ultimately protects us. Psalms 3:1-3 declares, “O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” These verses bring encouragement to me, because evil is always around us; but God is always present, protecting and sustaining us through every event in our lives.
2. Living in a new environment has provided me with opportunities to teach my children.
Like many mothers, I want to shelter my kids from difficult things. Of course, I know that no matter where we live, this is a challenge, but I wanted to try. I have been so amazed at how my children’s hearts are being shaped. My oldest frequently prays for the homeless people in our neighborhood—people we walk by and talk to on a daily basis. When we have encountered difficult situations, it has given us so many good opportunities to talk about God and show our kids how we need Jesus. I can’t keep their little eyes from seeing hard things, but I have been encouraged that through these situations we have been able to teach our children about who God is and why we need him so desperately. They’re learning to have compassion for hurting people and to take their cares to the Lord.
3. God showed me that I had a sense of entitlement.
When we first arrived, I wished that I had certain things, such as a home with a yard so my kids could run and play (urban neighborhoods don’t often provide this luxury). I wanted a washer and a dryer (the list would go on and on). I had a hard time sacrificing certain comforts for the sake of the gospel. I don’t think my desires were necessarily sinful, but somewhere along the way, I lost sight of the fact that the Christian life isn’t always what we expect it to be. This is where I needed to be reminded of Jesus’ work. He came to a broken world and loved people when it wasn't always comfortable to do so. Then he died the very painful death that I deserved.
Jesus calls me to pick up my cross and follow him, even when it’s uncomfortable, and even when it means that I have to give up my dreams because of my love for him. The inheritance God has for his children is far better than anything I think I deserve. The apostle Paul encourages believers with these words: “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Cor. 2:9).
I don’t always rest in that truth like I should, but over time God has taught me that I can trust him, because he is holding us in the palm of his hand (cf. Matt. 6:26).