Beth Moore — The God of All Comforts
Number three is this: If we retain comfort as our God instead of receiving from the God of all comfort, if we continue to be motivated, if we are driven by our agliophobia, our fear of any kind of agony -- now all of us dread it, nobody wants it. But I'm talking about when we are driven to avoid it.
When we make relationships based on how we can avoid pain, when we put ourselves in circumstances where we can most avoid pain, that's what I'm talking about; when we're driven by it, when we are motivated by it. We've already seen that if we sign up for a life compelled by comfort, we're going to live a life of relational disasters; we're going to live in a rut of relational disasters.
We've already also seen that we're going to live a life of constant addiction because we're going to turn to something -- some kind of substance, some kind of behavior, because life is hard and we all want to feel better. Is that fair? I want to feel better. We're not talking about not having any comfort. We're not talking about getting where you don't need comfort -- we need comfort.
But it is talking about finding it from a source that gives us the grace to live victoriously, instead of the guilt to stay in the trap. That's what we're talking about. Number three is this: we will miss the greatest adventures of our calling. If we remain compelled by comfort, we're going to miss some of the greatest adventures that God has ever placed before man. And you know what? We're going to be bored stiff and wonder why God never called us to do anything outside this little rut we're in. How willing would we be to just flat go?
Because the first word, over and over again that you will see of the calling of God on one life after another, Old Testament and New Testament is go -- go! In order to go anywhere we've got to leave someplace. Anybody know what I'm talking about? There is just no way to go without leaving. That's the only way we're getting from A to B. We're also not going to go and take all of our stuff with us as much as I want to. We're going to have to find a way that we're able to be driven by something that's says I would leave every comfort behind to know the adventure of being compelled by nothing but the love of Christ.
If we choose comfort to motivate us, we will risk our callings because this I can promise you, your calling is fulfilled way outside your comfort -- way outside your comfort. If you're like really comfortable with what you're doing, you may not be operating in the fullness of your calling. Because this I can tell you, this is what I've learned from my own experience with Christ, God is a whole lot more interested in my calling than my comfort.
He said, "I'll comfort you and then you're going to spend eternity in a mansion that has been prepared for you. And until then, you and me are going to have a little fun on this planet and put some comforts far behind."
I want to tell you, I wish you knew the depth to which I mean this, you have never known a bigger scaredy cat than me -- never! I'm scared of my own shadow. I'm scared of everything.
I was sharing with the group before we began this session when we just got to talk back and forth for a little while, I have to make the choice every single time I teach and use the spiritual gifts God has given me, I have to choose to press past my fear. I still deal with a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, a lot of personal insecurity. It doesn't matter how you reason it with me, it is just a battle that I've fought all of my entire life. By nature I'm a scaredy cat.
By nature, I promise you, I'm a comfort lover. I love my things. I don't have really fancy things, for the most part. Keith and I live in the same house we have lived in for 23 years but why was it when he wanted to move I would not move? Because I wanted my comforts. I wanted it just the way it always had been; I wanted it just like it was because that is where I felt comfortable.
I was driven in this message in this series, I told you that I really dedicate this message to LIFE Outreach because if anything has taught me what I'm sharing with you, it has been this ministry. It's been Betty and James who have caused me to do more things I was not comfortable with than just about any godly person I can describe to you. I certainly had zero intention of doing any kind of work on television -- zero! Zero! No desire to do it. Had told God I wasn't going to do it; didn't even want to do any kind of radio. I wanted to find my little group and I wanted to stick with my little group -- that's how I wanted it.
Recently, Keith and I just returned from another trip, an L.O.I. trip to rural Africa. This is where this began to press on me as I thought through -- here's the thing, you can find so much better stories than the one I'm about to tell you. So many people have done far more courageous things but I only have my life to share. Do you understand what I'm saying?
I only know from my own perspective what it is like to have lived in the grip of fear and then to find yourself doing things you know in your natural man you're too scared to do. You know that cannot be you. You know something has overtaken you and that God has had a victory in you because you know you are not capable of doing that. So I share this story with you knowing that there are far better stories out there. But here is one of mine because here recently just within the last couple of months we flew to South Africa, got on another little plane and when I say "little plane" I do mean a little single-prop engine -- no, I think it did have two props but it was a five-seater and one of the seats was a potty.
Now, I ask you, I just have to ask you a question, who is going to use that? Who is going to use it? And we'd be on it for hours -- absolutely hours. They would say, "Be sure to hydrate yourself because it is Africa."
I'm going, "I'm not hydrating myself! No sir!" We just had prayer and fasting. Where you're sitting in the seats; you're just rocking back and forth like this going, "When are we landing?" We were in such claustrophobic conditions. I'm talking this plane –
We were with another couple that we just dearly love that also serve with LIFE Outreach, with James and Betty. They are partners with them and have been for years and years and years -- long before we came into the picture. And we were sitting with them, knee to knee. I mean my man is not small, not fat but he is a good-sized hunk of a man! So is her's, and they were crammed over there together. They got to know each other so well! Because they just had to sit on each other. Men don't like to touch! They just had no choice; they were just all over each other. There we were sitting knee-to-knee in such cramped conditions.
When we got on the plane, I just loved how one guy, the pilot, there was one pilot, and he started up the engine while the other went out there and did this with the prop. I mean that is unsettling -- that is just unsettling! I said, "Don't even look out the window!"
When we get out there then we move into a vehicle because there are so many -- there have been so many land mines and so much -- so many years of misuse and all the rural roads were so torn up, so many years of civil war in Angola. The roads are terrible. You have never -- I don't care where you're from, you could not know the definition of potholes in the same way that I'm talking potholes. Am I telling the truth?
I'm looking over at my friend, Betty who knows exactly what I'm talking about because she has been there over and over and you bounce around until your brains feel like they are coming loose from your skull. Somebody knows the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm talking way, way, way out in the rural villages. At the risk of being indelicate, there are no restrooms. I need somebody to understand what I'm saying. I am made for nice lady's facilities.
That's how I was created; to me it is just a basic life need. I'm one of those, even if I'm at a shopping center, if I open up the public restroom door and it doesn't look a certain way I'm still going to turn around and I'm going to go get in my car and I'm going to go home because I like the comforts of clean facilities. Stay with me here, I'm not talking about no clean facilities -- I'm talking about no facilities! And I'm talking about hours and hours.
You might be saying, "Listen, I would have held it." Oh, no you would not! Oh, no you wouldn't! I'm just going to be careful how I say this so it makes the edit here so they can leave the message intact but I'm talking -- I'm talking you know Dorothy has left Kansas when she is looking out into the field for the right tree.
Me! Me! I don't know why I felt the need to say this and I've been with these friends before, and we girls just go off by ourselves together but I always feel the need to say, "You know I really don't do this with anyone. I don't really do this with anyone." I don't know why but I just feel the need to always tell them.
They go, "You know, we do, Beth -- we do. At home, we just go to the yard."
None of us would choose to do that! I'd just be sitting there literally and thinking to myself, what in heaven's name does God have me doing?
Listen, if you are not agliophobic and if you're just now tuning in with us, that is a word that means phobia of pain or discomfort, you want to stay away from rural Africa. You probably want to stay away from any mission trip. But wouldn't you miss the adventure of a lifetime!
I just wonder how many people are just bored -- just bored. I have people tell me continually, "I just found church boring." You know what, buddy? You may have found a boring church but you don't have a boring God. You talk about a drama king!
There is nothing boring about God. You just have to go with him -- you just have to go with him. Talk about discomfort -- where we went over and over again, stop after stop, and day after day, all your senses are completely assaulted. Your sense of sight you see things that you think, I'm never going to get over that -- never get over that. When you think to yourself, I'd swap the flies that from child's face but they'd come right back. We saw a little bitty guy who had fallen in their village fire hand down. It assaults my sense of sight, my sense of smell. The hearing -- to hear the babies cry, and not just like babies cry here, unless they are sick and very hungry.
In order to do what God had called us to do we had to be willing to look straight in the face of human suffering without glancing to our right or glancing to our left, looking straight in the face of it with some thought.
Listen if you ever let it get to you to where you think, there is just nothing that can be done, you have had it. Because if I've learned anything at all, there is something that can be done. And you think, but just one life at a time? Listen, to that one life it is everything. I guarantee you, to that one life, to those hundreds of thousands of kids that are now getting fed, I promise you it is everything.
To see children lined up for a country mile, tiny as can be, our kids wouldn't even know how to stand in line that long, holding their little bowl because they know you're going to put food in it and to watch the adults stand there because it is a children's feeding program. There is not the money to go around to every single person of adult ages except the nursing mothers in that village. Stunning -- stunning! To where you think, I don't know if I can recover from this. Glory to God, you don't.
And then you come home and you're totally exhausted beyond any kind of exhaustion I can describe to you; you have given everything you have got. You sit back and you close your eyes and the tears roll down your cheeks and you say to the Father, "I would not have missed that for the world."