So confession moment: I have never been stellar at waiting or uncertainty. Both feel like nails on a chalkboard to my get-it-done, Queen of Planning, Type A personality. I don’t like it.
God, however, seems to really enjoy these spaces because 90% of our lives take place while we are waiting on something or other- a job, a raise, moving, a degree, a relationship, our lives to finally begin, etc.
One such big waiting space was the Wilderness for the children of Israel. God had done the unprecedented by delivering them from slavery in Egypt and was now making this ridiculous vow that He would bring them into this currently occupied but insanely fruitful land as their inheritance. In Deuteronomy 8, God pauses to recap the wilderness experience just a bit with the Israelites. In verse 2 He tells them that one of the purposes of the wilderness was “to try you and see what was in your heart, if you would walk in my way.”
There’s an interesting thing that we humans do when we have to wait- we show our cards. In waiting and uncertainty, you get to see what you’re really working with internally. For example, if you and a friend agreed to meet at 7 for ice cream and it is now 7:15, check your pulse. Are you internally fuming? Are you believing the best and giving them the benefit of the doubt? Your internal development and discipline is often put on display and exposed in waiting and uncertainty.
This is essentially one of the functions of the in between. In the in between, you hear what I call your own soul’s noise. Many times in the waiting, conditions are created that breathe new life on things that once lay dormant on the floor of our hearts. Insecurities, skeletons, and wounds that never healed rear their ugly heads again. Your past may start speaking, competition rises up, or you get a little touchy about your idols (whatever those may be). Worry, anxiety, and fear are prominent naggers that speak to your belief about God and His heart toward you. Will He come through? Can He be trusted? Is there provision set aside? This space clearly exposes two things: What we believe and what we haven’t addressed.
For you and I in these holding patterns God is looking to see and to expose to us what is really in the contents of our hearts. He is laying your heart bare. I liken this process to how a runner clears a hurdle. God in the in between- in wanting the degree, the job, the car, the family, your own place, to move, whatever it is that’s your “Promised Land”, is watching how you go about clearing the hurdle, however dysfunctional that may be.
So the in between. God is notorious for using this hang time to grow us, change us, heal us, and prove us. We have the task of finding out what He is trying to build, to confront, realign or instill in us and that comes through seeking Him in prayer. As you hear the noise, fears, and insecurity or when you see the skeletons, and the ugliness, know that God is calling you to greater and higher Christlikeness. He’s for you! And the ground he is exposing to you in showing you yourself is ground he wants you to take. It’s part of your inheritance, so get all there is to get! Partner with God in this process!