“Always carrying in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:10
We just emerged from the Lenten season. 40 days of sorrow and grief, that culminate in a tragic death. All seems lost, but then God has something to say doesn’t He? I can’t help but think that life often feels like the days in-between the cross and the resurrection. We look behind us knowing the victory and the power that came through the cross, while we press ahead towards heaven which is still just out of reach.
And lately, I have been feeling a lot of “in betweens”
In between Africa – this June will be three years since I walked out of Acholiland. When I stepped on that plane, I had no idea when I would return. But, I honestly didn’t think it would be this long. I can tell you now, years removed, that my desire to return grows within me each day. I see her on the horizon, but she is still so far off which has been hard in these last fews months. With each passing day I have more gratitude for the places the Lord has allowed me to stand, and excited for what He has given me the privilege to step into. I have prayed for my heart to be able to rest in this space, and I admit most days I have been really, really bad at it. But the Lord has been so patient and kind giving me little glimpses of the beauty to come, showing me that He is just as present in the here and now. And for that I am so grateful.
In between, in the waiting- there is so much waiting in this season. Waiting for my partnership development to build, waiting for what’s to come, waiting and wondering when my heart will be put back together after so much pain and loss this last year and a half, waiting for someone I love to slowly (and likely painfully) leave us all. So. Much. Waiting. My heart has easily grown tired in all this waiting. But God has been ever present. He has counted all my tears (and believe me there have been many), not one of them has fallen unnoticed. Every one is recorded in His book (Psalm 56:8). The Lord has reminded me that there is rest in the waiting too. Even when I do not understand, even when I do not have the answers. Even when things do not go my way. The beauty of our God is: He never leaves our side, no matter how fickle our hearts are. And that is something to hold on to.
I have found that in the in-between there is pain and grief, there is death and shame. Immense loss and brokenness. I often wonder how the disciples felt in the in-between, scared and hiding…this was not how it was supposed to be. How often do we utter the words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus…we thought He was the one. Or how they felt once they witnessed the resurrection, touched the nail-pierced hands of Jesus, and watched Him ascend into heaven…now locked in an upper room, waiting and praying for the Holy Spirit to fall, and nothing is coming. Just waiting… How easy it would be to think was he the one? Did we really see what we saw?
This is where we live in the here and now, in this vast in-between. Carrying the death of Christ in these fragile earthen vessels. Bodies that break, brains that sometimes fail and can’t remember, hearts that grieve and fall apart. This fallen world is where we call home. And while Jesus’s presence is ever around us, his absence is always felt.
But more importantly, in this in-between, there is also wonder and beauty and miracles and life. There is healing and fullness, community and love. And most importantly there is sustaining hope. Jesus came to give us a glimpse of the Kingdom that was coming. He knew what this in-between was like, and God knew what we would need to get us through.. His life and resurrection should give us the courage and the hope to hold on for what is coming.
This life really is a dichotomy. A vast multitude of in-betweens, of waiting for what is to come. Hearts intended for heaven, yet not quite there yet. But, we keep pressing forward to the resurrection, knowing where we’ve been, reaching out and grabbing a hold of what is coming. For we know that through it all our Jesus is ALIVE, and that, that is enough to hold onto in this vast in-between. Knowing the truth that one day, we will stand before the very face of God. May we hold on to that through this beautiful, messy life sweet friends!
Kuc Obed Kedi. (Peace be with you.) Lubanga wani gin ma loyo pe! (Nothing defeats our God!)