Some of the most life-giving conversations for me have occurred within the past few days. I have been traveling around the more frigid parts of this country, seeing family and friends in Chicago, attending a retreat in Minnesota, a class reunion at my alma mater, and much more. While I’ve been up to my eyeballs in snow and bundled up in more layers than I can count, my mind, body, and soul are warm and full with the overflow of God’s rich grace and love all around me.
I’ve seen friends and faces that I haven’t seen in years. I’ve engaged in deep conversations about Jesus and His purpose for us here on this earth. I’ve laughed until I cried and cried tears that I didn’t know were waiting to flow. It has been a full few days, and while I’m surrounded on every side by the sight of winter, there has been abundant life in every gaze. There has been little sleep but much coffee. There have been hugs and memories swapped. There have even been deep, heartfelt disagreements, but I have seen the face of Jesus in every breath, in every whisper, and in every embrace.
One such conversation led to talk of the black and white versus the gray. As much as I have found myself seeing things in black and white or absolutes, the more I walk with the Lord, the more I’m ushered into the gray. Much of my life has been spent in Christian circles, and within this past year, there has been a steady conviction from the Holy Spirit that I have not positioned myself to be among the lost as much as I should. After all, I am to be salt and light, but how can I be effective in these roles if I’m disengaged with the world around me?
Not for one second throughout this journey have I lost an ounce of passion for the bold, unapologetic proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not for a moment have I embraced any form of compromise to truth. What has occurred in my life is an increased level of compassion and understanding for those who do not yet follow Jesus. For too long, I allowed my world to consist of mostly like-minded people, that the lost were seldom on my radar. I never lost my desire to see women of God grow in their faith, but what about those who had no faith at all?
Back to my conversation the other night with my sweet friends. As we sat and shared our unwavering commitments to God and His Word, as we poured out in words the “wrestlings” that we have found ourselves engaged in with the Lord over the past few years, a few beautiful words flowed from the lips of a dear friend. We were talking about the black and white things of Scripture, the absolute truths, the things not up for debate, which there are many to be found within the pages of the Bible. We were also talking about the gray, the areas that appear to be less clear, less defined. Some of us in the room default to the black and white(confession: ME), and others to the gray. There is truth and beauty to be found in both, and the beauty in the gray is that it is “pregnant with redemption.” I quoted those three words because they are not mine, although I wish I could claim them to be. As the sound of those three words hit my ears, they gripped my heart.
In our pursuit of God, have we perhaps lost sight of those who aren’t? In our search for the Redeemer, have we forgotten the extent of how much we have been redeemed from? Have we defined His every attribute to where there is no longer margin for the gray, the places where God and His ways remain a mystery? When God opens up our eyes to the disengaged souls surrounding us, are we actively walking alongside of them, showing them the way of truth?
Much of my life has been spent pursuing God and then defining Him. This isn’t necessarily wrong. God’s Word tells us that when we seek, we will find, and what I have found, I desire to share. Still, if I’m not careful, I can quickly fall into the trap of thinking that somehow, I have God figured out. But truth says that I never will until I see Him face to face. So, should I not willingly walk into the gray with others, asking just as many questions as the seeker, knowing that when I choose to humble myself in the unknown, God will lift me up in due time? Are you and I still responsible to seek truth and to live by it? Absolutely! But if my heart every slows in its beat for the lost and the broken, I have lost sight of the heart of God.
Redemption is His heartbeat, and perhaps much of it is to be found in the gray.
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Courtney Smith says
What a great post!! I definitely felt convicted for sure. Thank you for writing this. Would you mind if I featured you and this article on my featured writers section of my website? I would love to highlight your ministry.
Cherie Wagner says
I would be honored, Courtney! Thank you so much, and thanks for your words of encouragement to me.
Mercy Martinez says
Beautifully written. Keep them coming.