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August 4, 2023

I recently read a book about the Gray Zone. What is the “gray zone?” That was my initial question when I saw the chapter title. The gray zone refers to the space or time in between two seasons of life where you’re leaving one and a new season is about to begin. No matter what those seasons might be, the gray zone is uncomfortable.

I feel that I’m in one. The summer is drawing to a close (maybe not on the calendar, but if you have kids at home, you know what I mean). I have one kid who just graduated from high school, one who just started driving, and my youngest starts high school next week. The busy school schedule begins in just a matter of days with sports practices and games filling the calendar. The pace of summer is getting traded in for a new season that I haven’t navigated before.

I don’t know what your gray zone looks like. It may come with excitement, maybe fear, perhaps anxiety or grief. Most likely it’s a mixture. The space in between is always uncomfortable. When I look at Scripture, God appears to show up in the gray zone quite often.

Jesus began his ministry with a beautiful baptism and Holy Spirit moment. And just before he hits the countryside teaching and healing, he’s led into the wilderness for a time of testing, intense prayer and fasting, and an all-around super challenging time. Moses’s wilderness experience lasted a long time. Joshua had an entire landmass to conquer before he entered his next season. Peter, Mary Magdalene, and the other disciples of Jesus had a three-day gray zone experience that was scary, disappointing, and challenged their faith in incredible ways.

The gray zone can also be called The Wilderness. One author said this about the wilderness:

This is where God woos. The gray zone is where He wins our hearts back to Him, where he turns a valley of troubles into a gateway of hope. We encounter God, here.

In the Hebrew imagination, the wilderness was not a place to be conquered but rather a place of challenge and confrontation…

I’ve been thinking… what if the wilderness isn’t someplace that God is so eager to pull us out of? What if he wants to show us truths about his love, his faithfulness, and his power? What if the gray zone is the place where Jesus is pursuing our hearts and drawing us deeper into obedience, surrender, and trust?

When you find yourself in the gray zone, pause there. The next time you sense you are in the wilderness of life, stop and ask: What might God be wanting to teach me through this season? Pray: Father, show me something about yourself and my own heart that I need to see and know.

After all, Jesus made it through the wilderness through prayer, fasting, and dependence upon God. Joshua conquered the Promised Land after a wilderness of battle, trust, and obedience. Peter and the other disciples came out on the other side of the gray zone with the Spirit of power overcoming their fear and doubt launching them into a new season of ministry impact.

As White Oak Christian Church approaches the one-year mark of our Shaken initiative this fall, I am anticipating God’s power to continue to move boldly. I am also anticipating a wilderness experience. We’re between one season of trust and excitement for the next one to come. What will God do? How will we continue to respond? How will each of us personally be challenged toward deeper steps of trust?

God is always faithful in the gray zone. Let’s embrace this next season with bold trust!

With you,


Nathan Hinkle

Campus Pastor - Ross Campus

White Oak Christian Church


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