Revelation 3:16: Blinding Gray
Revelation 3:16 has always been a bit of a mystery to me since middle school, but the Holy Spirit has been pushing me to ponder and ask the Lord about it. It says “So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out My mouth.” I can hear the Lords urgency and zealousness over me with a description that uses His name, my name, and vomit all in the same sentence. What is difficult to hear is the possible reason for His use of this type of analogy. With age and His revelation, I believe I am beginning to be awakened to a deeper layer of God’s heart in relation to this verse.
I have some dear friends who are in midst of a family crisis. This is a deeply rooted in Christ family with generations of multiple warriors for the Lord on all sides. But today they are facing raw loss and despair as one of their own is being attacked on a level by the enemy that has caused significant perversions of truth and emotional trauma that has threatened suicide. As I listened to my dear friend’s heart, the gravity of the situation at hand made my breathing deepen. Sobered by the Holy Spirit, I began to pray deeply for my friend’s family.If we truly allow the Holy Spirit to work with groanings on our behalf in prayer, as it talks about in Romans 8:26, then I can honestly testify that He will at times lead us to feel stirrings of his righteous anger, His zealous passion, His Holy Roar….the “I am who I am” in more of his entirety. This has been one of those times, where I can literally taste a righteous anger for what the enemy is attempting to steal, kill and destroy.
I have sampled this same taste before as my family and I have dealt with our own issues. I have felt his wordless groans against the natural consequences that addiction, divorce, and false interpretation of scripture brings. My character is one geared towards mercy and compassion. Because of this, I have wrestled with feelings of utter disgust and tangible rage. What does a mild and meek hearted girl do with these kinds of emotions?
I can look back and see that the Lord has not dumped this lesson on me but rather has been preparing me from an early age. The first research paper that I had to write was in 5th grade. I had an amazing English teacher who loved history. One day she came in the room with a hat full of pieces of paper and the syllabus for the next few weeks of our time in her class. Each piece of paper in the hat represented a significant historical event that would be the topic of our research paper. The walk toward the front of the classroom to blindly pick one of those pieces of paper got all of our attention. My scrap had the word “Holocaust” written on it. Little did I know that this would reveal truths about my character and purpose within God’s kingdom calling on my life (If I could only go back and thank Mrs. Journay). The pictures from the stacks of library books that I found will be forever engraved on my little 10-year-old mind. It took me some time to even relate that the pictures of ovensand surgical tools had anything to do with the death of millions. My brain just couldn’t compute the evil. I mean come on people, this is the girl who had to be excused from the theater during Superman and ET at the ripe ages of 2 and 4 because my parents could not control the wailings of injustice that I obviously wanted everyone in the theater to feel with me. I began to feel the most contrary emotions to my naturally “mercy” type heart. I was ANGRY. During my research, there was a night or two that I buried my head in my pillowsand would cry out from a deep place that I had yet to know. It wasn’t a wail but more of a “roar” that I felt. I could only understand my emotions, for every picture that had been taken and for every picture that had not, but later God would use that experience to show me that I was feeling His heart and his cry for that time in history.
My mercy character continued to reveal itself with age. I have no idea how much money I made my parents pay in meal deals and groceries for people I saw on the street corner with signs. There were even those who my dad made the U-turn for so that we could take them to our house to give them work and a meal. Their sign said that they would work for food and we were on our way back home so that my dad could finish all the work he needed to do on our 2 acre yard. Surely he could use some help right? By the time I was a sophomore in High School I knew that I wanted to be a physical therapist for children with disabilities. But even in the crushing weight of sorrow I felt for others who were in need, I also felt an emotion that I could not put into words. Just the continued cries in my pillow on nights where I could not turn off the thoughts with a flick of a switch.
What I didn’t know was that it wasn’t my heart for mercy that was being stirred, for my heart is finite and grossly limited to give others what they need. It was His heart that He was revealing to me. But in His revelation of what is mercy is, He also revealed to me what mercy is not. Mercy is kind, compassionate and forgiving. Mercy is getting what one does not deserve because we have a gracious and loving Father. Mercy is acting in love and showing favor when it is not merited. Mercy is not blind to truth. Mercy is not a quiet hopeafraid to first reveal the injustice before it acts. Mercy is not void of stepping to the line to expose darkness tolight.
I equated mercy to being meek and mild. I hid behind a veil of timidity. I thought the glimpses of anger and rage that I had allowed to sit within me were in complete contrast to the person God had made me to be. But today I sing a different song. As the Holy Spirit reveals more about God and His character, I can see how one cannot receive mercy, if one cannot offer repentance. For how could I learn to love mercy, if I had could not learn to hate evil.
So, here I am, learning how to change my once thought tastes of hatred, rage, and bitterness about the wrongs of life to a taste of justice, mercy and humility (Micah 6:8). As I talk to the Lord about the reality of my life, the lives of my dear friends, and of those I have yet to know, I am reminded of Revelation 3:16. God loves His people but He abhors evil, so much so that the only thing He can truly relate it to is the actual taste of vomit. Evil cannot be of Him. Evil cannot be around Him. Like vomit, His very character will do what is required to righteously reject it from His name and renown. My flesh is evil. My flesh will fail. Like vomit, it will do whatever it takes to have me reject my one true God. If I choose to remain in a little evil or a lot without receiving His mercy and offering my repentance, then I will be lukewarm and unable to stay in His presence. Living on this earth is not a question of if I will sin, or fail, or mess up. Living on this earth is a preparation for how I have the choice to live by His spirit or by my flesh. As I spend time in His presence, I allow the HolySpirit to intercede on my behalf. I allow him to do his job and awaken my spirit to the truths of who God is andwill forever be. I allow him to remind me that with every taste of His righteous anger to RUN to his throne in humility, receiving his mercy that transforms my heart to yearn for His justice. That is when I can begin to praise Him for keeping me from the snares of this lukewarm middle, this apathetic stiffness, this blinding gray.
This is my hearts cry. Jesus, save us from the gray in life that keeps us from seeing your truths in black and white. Holy Spirit, do what you do and wake up our spirits to the thoughts and lies and voices we allow to keep us numb to your zealous love. God, shine your light in our darkness and make known what keeps us blind to your kingdom. We long to live in black and white and hot and cold. Not in the dust of gray that blurs our view of you. Take all that we know. Take all that we think that we know about you and implant your spoken word in our hearts. You tore the veil. There is nothing that stands between you and me.