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The In-Between Times

No one expected Jesus to rise from the dead.

The women went to the tomb on Sunday to apply spices to a cold, inert body…and the men were fearfully hiding out.


Even after Jesus defeated death, they still didn’t get it. They were thinking nationalistically when they asked: “Now are you going to crush the Roman empire?” They had an imagined picture of how life should now turn out. And if that picture wasn’t what they imagined, then what did the future hold?


The “in-between” times in life are times of waiting. It’s often the dry space between a positive experience and a desired future. The positive experience can be a personal victory, a leadership achievement, a job promotion, an affirmation of some sort—anything that is constructive. For those of us following Jesus, it can be a recognized spiritual victory of some sort.


But that can reinforce certain expectations.


In I Kings, Elijah has a huge win over a toxic group of cult leaders and a corrupt, narcissistic king who were responsible for the nation’s decline.  After their resounding defeat and Elijah’s miraculous vindication, only a few days later he cries, “I have had enough, Lord . . . Take my life.”  1 KINGS 19:4


That’s not an atypical pattern. Depression often follows a big win. And make no mistake: there are spiritual forces at work as well.


After the public affirmation Jesus receives at his baptism where we see a trinitarian expression in tangible ways—the Holy Spirit descends and the Father declares, “This is my son who pleases me”—Jesus is immediately driven into the wilderness where he is forced to face the biggest challenges to his identity.


Most of us have experienced a discombobulating failure after a big win.


I once had a remarkable experience with the Holy Spirit in my pastoral leadership that was physically overwhelming. I was alone and the presence of God was so real and thick that I had to ask God to please stop. For the next several weeks, I would awaken in the morning with his presence so real that I felt like a little boy without a care in the world, safe in the arms of a Father who exuded love.


It was only a few months later that I entered a period that was the most debilitating time in my pastoral life. It included a frivolous lawsuit that went all the way to the state supreme court until it was thrown out. I questioned my role after some mediocre leadership decisions on my part and cried out to God to “take me out” when he intervened in a prophetic way. What followed two-years later was one of the most remarkably fruitful, city-impacting, and energizing times in our church’s history. We could have missed it.


It's the “in-between” times of life that are the crucibles to our faith. During the “in-between” seasons, God dips His finger into the pool of our hearts to stir the waters. He makes us fully His. Waiting is never static, it always involves active trust.


And so the disciples went back to waiting, to actively trusting. Ten days after Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit fell and they were never the same.


Perhaps you’re in an “in-between” time. Faith is the connecting rope between you and the heart of the God. What good is it if you never test the strength of it? Don’t give up…God hasn’t abandoned you. There is something stirring in the depths of your soul that you may not even be aware of. But He is.


He knows Pentecost is coming. 



Dave Workman | The Elemental Group


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