“Am I a person of faith? Yes … deep faith,” replies the pleasant blonde woman I’ve just become acquainted with.
We are seated in the sun-drenched dining room of a B & B, enjoying scrambled eggs with candied salmon, red potatoes, and a fruit plate with a dab of yogurt and tiny ribbons of mint.
“Tricia,” I’ll call her, describes the current transition in her life. After many years, her marriage has ended. Returning to her career would require a masters degree, which seems pointless so close to retirement.
Should she move closer to her daughter and grandchildren, or back to her home town? It’s time to reinvent herself.
The faith question opens up a bubbling well of thoughts. Tricia believes God is within us, whether we call him Maker or Source or the Universe.
She weaves together remarks about Native American medicine wheel traditions, the space between decisions and doors, and how people are a bunch of atoms no different than, say, the salt shaker on the table between us.
I listen, wanting to hear the heart of this sweet-natured, interesting woman, aware that God is wooing and pursuing her.
After a while, she slows and asks, “What about you?”
I hesitate. She’s already made it clear she’s heard enough from people who claim to be right about everything.
“To know I’m loved,” I reply, “… that’s the most amazing thing. That I’m loved by the One Who created me. The One who paid for all my failures. All my shame.
You mentioned the space between decisions — I’ll refer to another space, a huge one, between how beautiful things were with us and God at first, and how things will one day be restored to perfection.
Right now, all of us live in that in-between time, and things are broken. We are broken.
We need Someone to rescue us. Jesus saves me from my own selfishness. Scripture says that everything was created by him and for him. I live my life — I hope — in gratitude for all he’s done.”
Our coffee has cooled; we say our goodbyes. As we drive off, Tricia stays in my thoughts and prayers. I wish I could ask her more questions, like:
- You talked about living authentically, looking into the eyes of “that one in the mirror” and living from your true self. Your remark brought James 1:23-25 to mind:
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
The Bible is a mirror which reflects our true condition and invites us to respond to God’s compassionate power to change us. This is where my hope lies.
What about you? How do you define “authentic?”
What if the person you see in the mirror is blind to her own brokenness? What if living authentically is about recognizing we are hypocrites in need of transformation?
2. You described people as clumps of atoms. Does this mean a human being has the same intrinsic worth as a salt shaker?
How might you measure the value of people differently if you were to acknowledge we are created in the image of a personal-infinite God Who loves us?
How might your heart respond if you discovered that the Universe who has guided you and provided for you is not some nameless force at all, but a Person named Jesus?
In this light, my prayer for you is from Ephesians 3:17-19:
…I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Perhaps this in-between space has less to do with geography and more to do with your soul? Maybe instead of wandering, it’s time to come back home for the first time…
That’s what it is, you know — being loved like this. It’s returning from exile to a homeland you’ve never seen, restored to a true self you’ve never known.
It’s the revelation that you’re more broken than you know, and more wildly loved than you ever dared imagine.
That’s the good news Jesus alone offers you.
May your roots sink deep into the love of Christ as you come to know him, and may you flourish in him forever.