In the meantime.
Most of us have been at a place in life best described as “in the meantime.” This is the season of waiting. The season of having received clear direction, but still needing light to flood the path ahead and so we wait, wondering what the next step is. It’s the season of frustration and wondering if what we heard was indeed God’s prompting. It’s the season of doubt and fighting the thought that maybe God doesn’t care or have a plan. It may even be the season where your prayers seem to hit the ceiling and bounce right back to slap you in the face.
Although it doesn’t shorten our time of waiting, I find it comforting to know that these seasons are nothing new. There’s a saying that misery loves company, and while I certainly don’t wish times of discomfort on anyone else, it does bring hope to know that I am not the only one. What brings even more hope is when I read the Bible and see the “giants of the faith” experienced them as well. Because if these people, (who God so clearly -sometimes tangibly- revealed Himself to) went through similar experiences, it only makes sense that I would too.
As I read in the book of Exodus one morning, I was stopped in my tracks. Unfolding in the pages before me was the record of God’s great intervention and rescue of Israel from Egypt. With many miraculous acts, plagues and partings of the sea, God began to lead His people into the land He had promised. With Egypt behind and their freedom securely in place, the Israelites continued to see God’s presence as He led them with fire by night and a pillar of clouds by day. He provided quail and manna. He caused drinking water to flow from rocks. And then, in the middle of very detailed instructions on how they were to deal with the day-in-day-out problems of life together, God once again reminds them that He will drive out all the other nations and gave the land to them (Exodus 23:27-28). Sounds great, right? God’s there among them, talking to them, leading them. Yet, the next verse takes our impatient human minds in a different direction. God tells them He will not do it in a single year because the land would become uncultivated and the animals would take it over. They were going to have to be patient.
Upon reading this verse, I was struck with two thoughts. First, I was a little jealous that God told them His reason for delay. After all, I can’t remember a single time in my life where I knew what the hold-up was. The second thought was that since God is the creator of earth, surely He could drive out the nations and have the land and animals be put into a season of waiting instead. Why make His people wait?
The answers to both these thoughts could take us many, many hours to fully research and most likely the documentation of those findings would result in a book. But if you are like me, the most pressing question is simply “What do I do in the meantime?”
Knowing the “why” of our waiting doesn’t tell us the “how” of our waiting. Continuing to read in the book of Exodus and throughout the Bible gives us plenty of examples to learn from. We see many mistakes and many triumphs of God’s people as they journey through seasons of waiting.
When I reflect on this, I’ve come to realize there are three main things to remember during a season of “in the meantime.”
- God truly does have a plan for you and it’s far greater than you can imagine. Ask Him to help you see the difference between good dreams and God dreams. Jeremiah 29:11
- Even if humanity messes up, God is always working on our behalf. Partnering with Him in the process can make all the difference. Romans 8:28
- God is incredibly, indisputably faithful. In times of waiting, we can work on our own faithfulness towards Him and our belief in His unchanging goodness. Psalm 100:4-5
- Sometimes God is simply waiting for our growth. God isn’t going to bless us with something we are not ready for. Romans 5:3-4
If you are going through a time of waiting, take heart! Though we all struggle to keep our fast-food-mentality at bay sometimes, it’s important to acknowledge that life isn’t about just today, tomorrow or even yesterday- it’s about the journey itself! Life, viewed as whole, looks much different than when viewed in small chunks of time.
Looking back, I’ve noticed that “in the meantime” has often been a very meaningful time. And I wholeheartedly believe the same can be true for you as well!