And they leave me feeling a little discouraged. By now, I should know what it is to live abidingly in Christ… and I should be an expert at Sabbath rest… right?
I realize, though, that these are not words to master. That’s the “do-er” in me. The Martha. The Behavior Analyst. The goal-driven. I want to master things, including understanding, living and breathing these words.
The reality is… I need to refresh myself daily on these words of 2013 and 2014. To see them as opportunity. Grace. Gifts. Always available, regardless of my awareness or intentionality with them.
He abides in me No. Matter. What.
He offers me rest In. Every. Circumstance.
And this year, I choose…
Are you chuckling? 🙂 Not the kind of comfort you might be thinking, though I’d love to indulge in a year of comfort.
I mean paraklēsis.
I mean the kind of comfort that only is only needed when your heart is wrenched. When your soul is dragging. When you want to disappear. To find a rock, crawl under it, and hibernate. When good seem impossible. When better seems hopeless. When you’ve cried in despair. Or desperation. When circumstances confuse. rock. shake. When the earth shatters. When you want to hide your face in shame. Or embarrassment. Or pain.
When you need comfort.
When your soul needs relief.
When your body needs ease and freedom from its agony.
When your heart needs reprieve from the pain.
When the Comforter steps in, wraps you up, and swallows you in the peace that doesn’t make sense.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
When the God of all comfort consoles us, encourages us, defends us. Paraklēsis is all of those things.
And He asks us to return the kindness.
So this year, I hope to have a paraklēsis filter on my life circumstances. That with each challenge I encounter, I would pause and ask first, “Where do I see God’s comfort in this situation?” And second, “How can I extend this comfort to others around me?”
Now, if 2015 is anything like 2014, I will have a PLETHORA of opportunities to practice paraklēsis, both as I seek to realize it from God’s hand, and as I extend it to others.
And I will continue to embrace His abiding presence as I seek to abide in Him, as well as strive (ha!) for the holy sabbath rest that our souls, hearts, minds, and bodies need to thrive.