Shout for joy you heavens; rejoice you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:13.....Can we say that the greatest gift we can ever receive is that of losing our earthly security and comfort? So that we can unwrap the intimacy of the Savior and His heavenly comfort.....We're in the God-zone when we're out of our comfort zone....Ann Voskamp
I think a great portion of our prayer life is spent either asking God to keep us from any trouble, or, if in trouble, to get us out as quickly as possible. We have no desire to enter into a Jesus-like desert. We give no welcome to wilderness experiences. They're to be avoided. We believe that He has a "wonderful plan for our lives." That plan has no place for a desert or wilderness. This also means that it has no room for His cross.
I can say with certainty as concerns my own life, that I never learned anything of Him from a spiritual easy chair. From such a place I can only conclude that His goodness is proven by all the good things, stuff, He is adding onto and doing in my life. God is good, and those words roll of my tongue.....from the easy chair. But what does my heart speak should I find myself in the desert? What am I saying, thinking, modeling, should my life be overwhelmed by the very real floods, fires, and earthquakes of this world? Can I still say He is good when life is not? Or, does He have to do something good for me in that place before I can utter such a statement? It's amazing how quickly we can go from praising Him to cursing Him when the landscape goes from ease and comfort to barrenness and lack. Yet it is in that barrenness that we can discover what it is to live in the God-zone that Voskamp speaks of. It's there, in the unknown desert and wilderness that we discover and know the wonder and mystery of Him. It's there that we discover who He really is, and what the goodness of God really is. It's there we experience what Voskamp calls, "the comfort of His grip."
Easy chairs are static, stationary. They go nowhere. Neither does a life lived out in our comfort zone. The more time we spend there, the weaker we get. The more time we spend there, the more dull is the image of Him before us, and the knowledge and experience of Him within us. From the easy chair, we will never experience the joy and wonder we find in His providing a stream in the desert, His bread of life in the wilderness. From the easy chair, we never come to know what it is to live a life totally dependent upon Him. A life filled with the rich reward of Himself. When we live in the God-zone, we discover that His goodness is not defined by the "stuff" He gives, or the blessings He gives. In the God-zone, we learn that He is the blessing.
Annie Herring, the gifted lead singer of the Jesus movement group 2nd Chapter of Acts, said that upon her conversion, the Lord spoke to her. She had been seeking fame and success as a rock singer. She had just landed a recording contract, one that seemed an open door to all she had desired. The Lord quietly stated, "You can have all of that, all you have desired, or, you can have Me." She said she told Him, "Lord, now that I've seen You, I don't want anything else." This becomes the testimony of all those who embrace life in the God-zone, who live in the comfort of His grip. Deserts, floods, fire......need, they are all stepping stones into a greater intimacy with Him. We see Him as He is, and we want nothing else but more of Him.....and we will get it. And we will never go back to the easy chair.
No, we don't go looking for fires, floods, earthquakes and deserts, but we do not fear them should they come. We know that they will be places of deeper intimacy with Him, deeper joy in Him. We will not waste them, and we will not miss Him in them. In the God-zone we know that He is the blessing. He is what's good, best, and forever.