Outside the Comfort Zone
Madeline is twelve years old now and I do not get to spend as much time with her as I used to. Like all young people, she has her own friends and activities, and those things do not leave as much room for me as I had a few years back, but she still says Papa is her favorite! As she has grown physically she has also grown in her interests. One of those is music. For the past couple of years or so she has taken piano lessons and is making good progress with the instrument. My wife approached her recently about playing a song during our Easter program at church and she agreed to do so. It will be a treat that we look forward to.
While I was outside working on one of my projects, Madeline came out and started to converse with me about her plans to play the piano at church. During the discussion she asked me how many people would be there. I told her the approximate number and she remarked about having to perform in front of all those people. As she continued she told me that she would be out of her comfort zone playing in a public gathering, so I did the best I could to help alleviate her uneasiness. She received my words well and I will be a proud Papa as I listen to her performance.
As I think about the events of Holy Week that preceded the death and resurrection of Christ, I am reminded that there were a lot of people outside their comfort zone at that time. Many of the religious leaders were uncomfortable with the popularity of Christ and the work of God that He was doing. That discomfort pushed them to the place that they ultimately called for His execution. During the trial of Christ, when the pressure was great on the disciples, Peter became so uncomfortable when he was identified as a follower of Christ that he denied that he knew Him.
Of all the things that caused individuals to experience being out of their comfort zone, Christ had more reason than anyone to realize that He was in a different setting than He had ever been before; He had left the splendor of Heaven that was rightfully His and entered into an imperfect world filled with sinful people. He came on a mission that He did not deserve to fulfill—paying for humankind’s sin with His own life even though He had no sin of His own. But in spite of what He came to face, He saw it through to completion. As the time drew near for His death on the cross, He came face-to-face with the reality of what He was about to endure, yet He never backed down. With the weight of it all pulling at His emotions, He called out to God: “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42, New International Version). Indeed, it was a time of discomfort for Him in many ways. Luke stated that at that time His agony was tremendous: “And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
As we remember that Christ was willing to step outside His comfort zone in order to provide us with the only means of eternal hope, we must follow His example of willingness and step up to the challenges that we face as His followers. Those challenges sometimes take us to places and circumstances that we might not choose for ourselves, but just as He was willing to stay true to His mission so must we be. During this season of remembering the sacrifice of Christ and rejoicing in His resurrection, let us have a heart that is willing to step out of our comfort zone when needed as we serve Him. He gave His best for us, may we make it our goal to give our best for Him no matter the cost.