The word floods my mind with a collage of images.
Images and voices.
Voices that swoon and croon and call and plead and promise… and guilt.
My heart quiets and a soft smile settles with images of great reading rooms with large cozy chairs, overlooking the ocean. The sea breeze caresses my face, wisps of hair dance in the ocean’s song, and I am lost in a book, only drawn back to reality by the call of a seagull or the crash of a wave. A contented sigh.
I can doze in the warmth of the sun’s gentle rays and awake to cool in the ever-reaching waves. Laughter and joy and peace wrap around and I’m soon back in the arms of the chair, book in hands, world faded into another.
This is my “happy place.”
But then the guilt… all of the “comfort” foods that promise happiness in the moment, heartache (and bellyache) in the next. Guilt over the millions around the world living (if we can call it that) with little to no food, water… dying of things I take for granted. Guilt over the complaints I give a cold-sore when people say less about their own starvation, decaying body parts, children dying of preventable and treatable diseases. Guilt that my life as a believer in Christ should not be filled with comfort, but of perseverance, tribulation, endless hard work and long-suffering, sacrifice… exhaustion for the Cause. His Cause. Guilt that too much pleasure shouldn’t be for me and how can I even dream such things?
Then a gentle voice speaks:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
And truth, though my thoughts are so small in comparison, overwhelm my guilt and fears.
And the comfort comes.
Not through sea breezes or oversized reading chairs or worlds created by authors…
but by that voice.
The voice of Truth that overwhelms all shadows of guilt and fear.
That speaks peace and comfort into everything I can’t understand.