I Don't Know, But We're In It Together
PASTOR CHRISTINA HITE
We visited dear friends in Michigan a couple of weeks ago. I remember early conversations with my friend, because she is one of those people who leaves an impression. She’s smart, kind, a little quirky, and willing to be vulnerable. I look forward to spending time with her because she shows up as her authentic self, which allows me to do the same. I cherish her friendship.
When we were hanging out this last time, she brought up a specific moment from the early days of our friendship. It was one of our first encounters at the church we attended together in Tulsa.
We were standing in the hallway of the rented school that we gathered in. I was overseeing our Children’s Ministry at that church, so I was lurking in the hallway to make sure things were going smoothly.
I saw this woman, who I barely knew at the time, but recognized well enough to know she’d been there before. I asked how she was doing, though from the look on her face, I already knew the answer. Immediately, tears flooded her eyes, and she began to share part of her story with me.
She had three young kids and had recently moved to the area. She was juggling motherhood, going back to college, and navigating a family situation unlike anything I’d ever experienced or encountered. Her husband was starting a business. They had no connections in the area, and they had landed at our little church carrying more spiritual baggage than most people I’ve met before or since.
At the time, I didn’t really know what to say. I remember feeling ill-equipped and under-qualified to offer any words of wisdom. I don’t even really remember what I ended up saying when she had finished sharing, but it was along the lines of “Wow. That’s so much.” Super profound right? I left wondering if she was going to be ok, and if I’d somehow made things worse by asking how she was.
But as my friend remembers the story, though she could tell I didn’t know what to say, somehow that truthful response helped her feel seen. She remembers that I somehow admitted my lack of experience in those areas, and that made her relax just a little bit. She said it made an impression and from that moment on, she knew she could talk to me.
If you were able to gather with us on Sunday, you may have walked away feeling like me—there aren’t any easy answers here.
Wheat and weeds. A fiery furnace. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. All of the things that can make me want to squirm in my seat as a leader in our faith community.
Why does stuff like this have to be in our Bible? Why can’t it all be simple to understand and full of comfort and hope? This is Jesus telling this story, and I want to like what he has to say.
But something about this passage can leave us feeling unsettled. The disciples felt the same way and they asked him to explain further. I’m sure their questions included: Who are the weeds? Who is the wheat? How do we know and ensure we’re the one heading for the barn and not the furnace?
And you know what? My takeaways are foggy. I’m really unsure about how that is all going to play out in the end. I’m unsure of how to reconcile that text with much of what I understand of God’s character throughout other parts of the scriptures.
But I did walk away with one idea a little more fully developed because it seems like Jesus makes one thing clear about the weeds and the wheat—we’re not the ones who need to sort out one from another. Imagine that.
We’re not in charge of tossing stuff into clear-cut piles. We’re not the ones throwing stuff into a fire or saving it in the barn. We’re just one of those plants, somehow, in it together, waiting to be sorted by the only one who can.
Maybe that’s scary to you. I know it can be unsettling not to know. But for me, it’s giving me freedom. Freedom to lean into not knowing it all or having to figure it all out. And it’s helping me because I’ve had some difficult conversations lately, as I’m sure you have.
I’ve talked with friends who have lost jobs and parents who are struggling to raise kids in a cruel world. I’ve listened to people around our community share about loneliness, stress, spiritual questions, family dysfunction, and political issues.
I’ve prayed with and for people and done my best to hold space for those in the middle of pain that feels crushing, situations that seem insurmountable, and life that sometimes just seems unmanageable.
Such is the joy and honor of being in community. These moments are sacred, and I aim to hold them with the utmost care and concern.
But honestly, sometimes I just don’t know what to say.
Maybe some people I talk with are looking for clear answers and definitive solutions. Maybe some want me to share something from the Bible that will bring comfort or share a three-step process to move forward through the difficult situation. And there are probably times for those things.
More often, however, when we share our deepest selves with one another, I think we’re really looking for someone to look us in the eye, listen to our hearts, and hold space for the pain, sorrow, and questions that we carry. We want to know that we’re seen, understood, and accepted just as we are. We want to believe there is hope and that God is good even in the middle of uncertainty. And sometimes, the incarnational presence—our embodying Jesus to one another—is all that we can authentically offer.
When questions are confusing and situations are truly unmanageable, sometimes I simply say, “I don’t know, but I’m here. None of this is easy, but we’re in it together.” And then I do my best to actually show up.
We’re all in it together. The wheat and the weeds, those who think they have it all figured out and those who struggle to find a single thread to cling to. We’re growing side by side, looking toward our maker, hoping to be shown what the Kingdom really looks like so that we can veer in that direction. And sometimes we find that light reflected back by those who are near us.
Sometimes their presence gives us strength to keep growing.
Christina is one of our co-pastors at Imago Dei. She’s been on staff for the last five years and delights in the opportunity to serve the people of Imago and impact our community. She’s the proud mom of two chatty, kind-hearted, spunky girls who love people well and inspire her daily. And her favorite role in life is being wife to Dustin, whose gentle, faithful presence has been reminding her for 16 years what God is like. Christina doesn’t love superhero movies, Star Wars, or several other things that many Imagoans seem to enjoy, but she’s grateful for the love and acceptance she finds at Imago anyway.