north africa

sunday night at the tail end of a study on suffering, our young adult small group talked about the unreached, those who are born and live and die and never once hear the gospel. and compliments of yours truly, our conversation ventured onto ground that splits my heart and kept me up long after everyone had headed home, searching scripture and sermons and trying to shake this thing out. but then this morning, i came back to a quote i’d saved eons ago:

Someone asked, will the heathen who have never heard the gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we — who have the gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved. [Charles Spurgeon]

so um, yeah. i’ll let God handle the fragile, tricky, heart-splitting details (or more like He’ll reign over them whether or not i ‘let’ Him), and i’ll stick with lunging headlong into the task He’s given us.

i feel so full right now, my days rich with scripture and study and sun and cold, rich with people to love and music and blankets and praise.

shane&shane’s ’embracing accusation’ is one of my all-time favorite songs. it’s not a praise song per se, and it’s not upbeat, but it lays me out at Christ’s feet like nothing else. satan is slippery-smart, and deadly because of his alarming ability to whisper truth. he’s the father of lies, no doubt, but he knows truth up, down and sideways, and just as he quoted scripture at Jesus in the bleak dust of the desert, the words he sings into my life can be spot-on and piercing–that i’m hopeless, wrecked. a failing, flailing hypocrite, choking on self-absorption and visions of grandeur. he croons that i deserve death, and here’s the thing: he’s absolutely right.

but he’s never inclined to tell the whole story. the whole surprising, redemptive story.

so every time i hit that last line i’m shaking my head, in tears.

oh the devil’s singing over me
an age old song
that i am cursed and gone astray
singing the first verse so conveniently
over me
he’s forgotten the refrain:


oh, how He does. Jesus saves me and also you and it’s inexplicable, beautiful, giant lungfuls of life after years of drowning in rebellion. and i want this for every last tribe and nation on the planet.

so back to sunday night’s question about the plight of those who will never hear. as rev platt wrote, ‘the tendency in our culture is to sit around debating this question, but in the end our goal is not to try to find an answer to it; our goal is to alleviate the question altogether.’ yes and yes. jump on in, my friends. let’s spend our lives to make Him known.

Author: nic

saved by grace.

17 thoughts

    1. i was just thinking about you and dr ted too–it sounds like your trip in the fall went well! i’m excited to catch up with you and hear more about it.


  1. beautifully put! Praise the Lord that HE SAVES! So challenging for me! I am timid and scared and afraid of what people think of me. In otherwords I am selfish and need to hear the gospel all over again. CHRIST laid down his LIFE! I should be able to talk about it!


    1. you’ve hit it straight on–given the enormity of His sacrifice (and the joy of life in Him!), i’m asking Him to help me love folks enough to share and give and disciple. He is so, so good to us.


  2. “…whether we — who have the gospel and fail to give it… can be saved” c.s.’s response was right on. appreciated your newsletter today. “let’s spend our lives to make Him known.” yes, Lord.


    1. amy, i’m just so glad to have you. it’s such a strange and wondrous world, where people i may never see this side of eternity feel very much mine, and me theirs. so, so glad to be doing life with you.


    1. thank you, my girl. i just visited and yes–that post digs right to the heart of things. and this part:

      ‘Allow the surprise
      of rising dawn
      to shake you, wake you’

      plus the verse at the end? nearly had me leaping up and cheering. (i opted for internal leaping&cheering, which was probably appreciated by the sleeping inhabitants down the hall. but still.)


  3. spurgeon. oh man, what a man!
    and it is, giant lungfuls of life. praise jesus for his saving! lord help us to shout your gospel to all peoples, with joy and urgency.

    love you so, nic xoxo


    1. this is one of the best things about you–even your comments are poetic! so glad to be doing life alongside folks who share a passion for Christ and africa’s people.


  4. Wonderfully said. Your words brought tears to my eyes and conviction to my soul. It’s such a priviledge to be praying with you and your family as you journey into the depths of God’s mission in reaching All.


  5. love your writing. 🙂 excited for you guys and the journey you’re on! God is using you and will continue to do so, mightily.


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