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Comfort zones have gotten a bad reputation. Probably because the idea of staying in a zone of comfort is self-indulgent, non-adventurous, even cowardly. We urge each other to get out of our comfort zones, to not get stuck in them, to be wary of too great a fondness for them.

I learned recently that the origin of the word “comfort” actually means something different than I’ve always thought. The word is made from two Latin word parts, com-, which basically means “together with,” and fortis, which means “strong or strength.”1  When we read that God “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others”2 what if instead of envisioning Him nestling us in a pile of soft pillows in jammie pants with some hot tea and hugs, we saw that comfort as the strength of His presence with us? It’s an entirely different perspective on comfort zones. 

II Cor. 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”

Paraphrase: In every trial, hurt, or challenge, God’s strong presence is there all the way. When we know this, we can share this truth of “together strength” with God with others who are struggling.

Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.

Paraphrase: “Know I am with you, I will fortify you, uphold you, and never leave your side, my dear ones,” says your God.

Maybe it’s not my comfort zone I need to be wary of, but my “complacency zone.” My comfort zone no longer exists as a stationary, status quo hidey hole, but moves with me as I walk in the unshakable peace of knowing I have the “together strength” of God’s company with me always. That is the greatest comfort! It sustains me through times of pain, failure, change, loss, uncertainty, loneliness, and weariness.

We can serve God and others oh so diligently while still dwelling in our “comfort zone” if we understand God’s comfort to not always be easing pain or pushing challenges out of our way, but the life-changing understanding that we walk in the strong company of God Almighty.

Do you know that? That you can walk and live and thrive in the strong company of God?

Always with us is this God, this devoted Father, this faithful One, who is not only able to do anything, but is also full of unlimited love and grace, true and never changing.

How’s THAT for a comfort zone?

1 from the YouVersion Bible app reading plan “When God Doesn’t Make Sense” by lifechurch.tv

2 II Corinthians 1:4