I am finally re-surfacing after the incredible couple of days I spent at the Women of Faith Amazing Freedom Conference in Atlanta.
The group of 59 ladies from our church headed down to the "big" city at 6 am Friday. We left none too early as our bus driver, George, found himself in miles and miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic that just seemed to rattle his otherwise stoic demeanor. Having never really driven in Atlanta, poor George was indoctrinated into the fray by fire.
I think he was especially glad to drop us off and go hide under a bridge for the rest of the day.
We had a fabulous time, beginning with Travis Cottrell leading worship. Wow! That boy (I'm probably at least old enough to be a much older sister, if not mama) was fantastic. I've heard him on CD or via Beth's studies, but live! He can't be contained in a mere CD.
Then, the part I've been waiting for since I heard about her being at the conference back in April -- Beth took the stage, looking better than anyone should have a right to after returning from Africa. She was beautiful -- inside and out.
She immediately set the tone, and we were off and racing through the topic of the day -- Comfort. I was pretty much spellbound, as so much of what she said penetrated my heart. I've been longing for a word from the Lord, and I was not disappointed one little bit.
"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 have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 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. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.
We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us . . ." 2 Corinthians 1:3-10
We pursue comfort. Our culture drives this desire. Bottom line . . . we are afraid God is going to hurt us.
"Comfort is not the goal, yet discomfort is not the goal either. Set them both aside and choose another goal:
I learned so much more over the weekend, and I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about it.