Juxtaposition is not just a position. In fact, it’s like having multiple positions all at one time but in their polarity, everything fits together.
Merriam-Webster defines juxtaposition as: the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect[i]
During my Jesus time one morning, I read Acts 9:31 where two opposite emotions of comfort and fear were held together – creating the effect of growth in the church. “And walking in the fear of the Lord and comfort of the Holy Spirit, it (the church) multiplied.” (Acts 9:31b, ESV, emphasis mine)
Fear of the Lord and comfort from the Holy Spirit, two emotions held together, allowed the church to grow and multiply. The contrast between the two is quite possibly where stretching and growth occur, and probably not without a bit of discomfort. I’m certain the early churches’ fear of the Lord was a healthy fear, established from experiencing God’s overwhelming authority in love.
Just like that early church, we can hold a healthy fear in the Lord and comfort from the Holy Spirit in the same open hand. In that juxtaposed and safe space, our faith can experience a healthy growth in the Lord. Our Creator is about growth and expansion; we are a reflection of Him, thus meant for growth and expansion. Based on Matthew 17:14-21 with Jesus’ words of “faith like a grain of mustard seed” – I’m convinced that faith is meant to grow!
I’ve often found my faith grows most when I’m stretched between the comfort of standing on the promises and steadfast character of God, and stepping out into the unknown. How about you?