As Christians when problems arise, typically what is the first thing we do? We start to pray, and the hardest part is living between our problems and our answer. The life in the in-between is where many Believers lose hope, lose faith, or even lose their way. For it is in these days that God may seem distant, or not present at all.
Just as ship that has left the shore and is desperately seeking new land it must travel the waters that lie before it. It must make it’s way through the in-between. Sometimes those waters are rougher than others, but shore awaits on the other side if only it will keep going.
From the moment your problem arises until the moment you receive an answer, you have many choices in how to respond. You can try and take matters into your own hands like Abraham did (Genesis 16). You can complain about it like the children of Israel (Exodus 14:10-12). Or, you can stay faithful and worship like Job did.
Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands
For Abraham living in the in between became unbearable. He became frustrated. You see Abraham was 75 when God made the original promise to him to make him a great nation, and have his descendants inherit the land. He knew he was old, and he wasn’t getting any younger, so when over 10 years had passed he sped things up to his timeline.
Abraham slept with Hagar, who bore Ishmael, and the rest is history. Drama, drama, and more drama. The difficulty that arose from this has spread through the generations since then.
Isaac, the promised child, was not born for another 14 years. That’s 25 years after God’s original promise!
Today, we hold a very special advantage that Abraham did not have. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. We can rely on Him for guidance, direction, and discernment. When we try to take measures into our own hands without His guidance we tend to mess things up.
When we live in the in-between, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to get us through.
We Can Complain
After Moses freed the children of Israel from the Egyptians, and they were on the run they began to complain. They knew freedom and the promised land lay ahead, but the reality of difficulty looming over them as the Egyptians closed in caused them to complain about the in-between. They told Moses He should have just left them there to continue being slaves to the Egyptians.
You see, sometimes the in-between can be difficult. We can’t see the Promised Land in front of us yet. We are only aware of the difficulty that is chasing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Promised Land or if the answer to your prayer is your next meal, healing from cancer, or money to pay a bill.
You can sit and complain about it, or you can keep walking. Keep marching forward. Keep pressing on knowing that salvation lies ahead.
I heard a saying once that is definitely fitting. “Worrying (or complaining in this instance) is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
Now that we understand that taking matters into our own hands and complaining do us no good while we are in the in-between, let’s look at an example we can follow.
Worship While You Wait
Job was a man of great faith as well as great wealth. In a series of tests God allowed Satan to take everything from Job except for his life. His family died, his wealth and livestock gone, and even his health deteriorated. His friends even tried to convince him to curse God and die.
Through it all Job was faithful. He worshiped. Did he become troubled at one point and question God? Yeah. Honestly, I think that is a part of human nature when we don’t understand the unseen. But, in all of it he stayed the course.
When I was in college Dr. Guynes one of the professors used to always say, “Hold Steady,” and any time he said it the whole audience would repeat it, “Hooooooooolllldddd Steady!”
This is exactly what Job did. He held steady when the storms of life were raging around him.
When the storms of life are raging around you, and you are living in between your problems and your answer, the choice in how to respond is yours. You can take matters into your own hands without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you can complain like the children of Israel (which ultimately led to them wandering around the wilderness for 40 years), or you can hold steady.
While you wait in the in between, simply worship. Hold steady to Christ, and do not allow even the nay-sayers to bring you down. Don’t curse God and die as Job’s friends would have it. I can tell you from first hand experience that I have live in all three responses…and, the first 2 don’t work.
Remember, sometimes God answers prayers and sometimes He doesn’t as I have explained before. When it seems as though there is no answer, seek wisdom, and proceed slowly. Dwell on his word and the understanding that even when you can’t see an answer, he is working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). Even if it takes 25 years as in Abraham’s case.
While the in-between may be the hardest time to walk through, it ultimately leads to something greater. Abraham eventually had Isaac; the children of Israel eventually made it to the Promised Land; and Job regained all of his wealth, health, and a new family.
Trust God with an unmovable and unshakeable faith, and don’t be tossed by the waves of this life.