We’re making intentional plans these days to make room in our lives for short “memory making” trips to celebrate the time we have remaining together. One of our recent trips was to Guttenberg, Iowa where we stayed at a cabin generously loaned to us for the weekend by caring and loving friends. We enjoyed taking short walks and watching the boats navigate Lock 10, one of a “ladder” of 23 stair-stepping locks along the northern part of the mighty Mississippi River.
Whether it was a single motorboat or a 15-barge tow, we found it interesting to watch the boats navigate their way through the lock. For each of them it was a transitional place from one part of their journey to another. And it was a time of waitin; the 15-barge tow took over 1 1/2 hours to make the passage. All were hauling cargo, whether it be the life of a single sailor or hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn and soy beans the barges in particular sat lighter or deeper in the water according to the weight of their cargo. I found it fascinating to learn that one 15-barge tow, 1/4 mile long, could carry as much cargo as an 11 mile caravan of 870 semi-trucks, all in transition from one place to another.
Jeff Manion, author of the book, In The Land Between, uses the biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus out of Egypt and transition to the Promised Land as a metaphor for how we find ourselves in the undesired, transitional spaces of our lives.
You’ve been there. Whether it’s in a hospital waiting room, the “waiting room” while you wait for answers to desperate prayers, or the transition between houses and jobs, you know how heavy the weight of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety can feel on your shoulders; how it feels like you’re “low in the water” because of the burdens you carry
We continue to wait on the Lord regarding my health. Will God perform a truly miraculous healing so we can pursue the desires of our heart to serve him in Bolivia – or WHEREVER he calls us? Or have these three and a half years of growing the GLOW ministries been the miracle he intended all along? If he desires me to come home now, I am ready and willing. Whatever brings him more glory. We are where you are or once have been: In between the land of what used to be and the land where we have not yet arrived.
Manion observes that the land in between is fertile ground for anxiety, fear and doubt to grow. We have a choice to accept and tolerate such unwelcome invaders or to combat them with the antidote of faith. It’s up to us to choose peace or anxiety, assurance or fear, truth or doubt. Each of these problems that interrupt and disrupt our lives are in fact an opportunity to trust God for his solution. That is the hope of our lives and the message of Go Light Our World, that the Lord Jesus is everything we desperately need.
If you’ve come to trust him with the eternal condition of your soul, can you trust him also for this very difficult transitional place in your place in “the land between?”
What we’ve experienced is a gracious and loving God who is ever-patient with us as we navigate the difficult transitional times of our own lives. Though we might think we have the capacity of a 15-barge tow to buoy the weight of our problems, nothing compares with the capacity of Jesus to carry the full weight of our heaviest burdens.
This is why we believe the truth of God’s Word that teaches me, whether I live or die, I WIN! Cancer is a mighty foe but it doesn’t have the power to defeat who I am in Christ. I can trust the answers to prayer God has already arranged while I wait for them to be made known.
Whether I am completely healed and see the goodness of the Lord here in the land of the living, or in heaven, I rest in peace knowing I will be healed.
We all live in the land between this present life and our eternal one. Between this present problem and God’s future solution. What matters most, in fact the ONLY thing that counts, is that we live lives marked by faith that expresses itself through love.