There are a few things in life I’m really good at doing. I can bake a mean gluten-free cupcake. I know how to tell a story. I can almost always hold the attention of a group of kids (in part because I don’t have any problems acting ridiculous…).
But waiting? I am bad at waiting.
Like, super bad. Terrible, even. Dreadful. Disastrous.
Given the choice between waiting and making a bad decision, I’d genuinely think about making a bad decision because at least then I wouldn’t have to wait.
Waiting can be painful. It can be frustrating. It can be lonely.
In-between times? They are tough. When there is something you long for that is not yet within your grasp, it’s tempting to fret, to fear, to cycle on the same worrisome thoughts, spinning yourself into a tizzy.
What if God doesn’t come through this time?
What if my waiting is in vain?
What if I have to wait forever?
Sometimes we are uncomfortable with this type of questioning in the church. We throw pat answers at real pain and problems, telling our friends not to worry, that God is in control, that we shouldn’t panic or fear.
And yet, listen to this Biblical poet in Psalm 13:
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
God doesn’t interrupt his passionate plea to say, “How dare you ask these questions! Don’t worry! Just trust me! See? Easy-peasy!”
Instead, God knits this Psalm into the whole of Scripture, giving the Psalmist and you and me permission to splatter-paint the gates of heaven with raw emotion.
Don’t let anyone belittle you for feeling anguish in the in-between times. They are painful seasons, difficult days. Awaiting his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus sweated drops of blood. No one told him to cheer up because it would all be fine, even though, someday, it would.
As T. S. Eliot once wrote, “This is the time of tension, between dying and birth.”
God is at work. You are not forgotten. The in-between times have lessons to teach that we simply could not learn anywhere else.
Are you in an in-between time? What is the hardest thing for you in this season?