“You see, at just the right time,…” ~ Romans 5:6
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it. For it will certainly come, it will not delay.” ~ Habakkuk 2:3
“[God] has made all things beautiful in its time.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11
Ever feel like you’re living directly in the meantime? In-between one thing and another, and so far whatever’s next isn’t seen or known yet? I’ve come to find out that “In the meantime…” is not only a common line, but also a common time.
Author and Franciscan Priest, Fr. Richard Rohr has written before about such time periods using the latin term liminality or liminal space, which is a word meaning threshold. It’s a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. Furthermore he says, liminality is “… a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the ‘tried and true’ but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are in between your old comfort zone and any new possible answer. It is no fun. Think of Israel in the desert, Joseph in the pit, Jonah in the belly, or the three Mary’s tending the tomb. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait – you will run… anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing. Few of us know how to stay on the threshold.”
Ever been there? I am there! And I can attest to what’s said above as well as definitely wish and wait for this season to come to a close. It definitely hasn’t been fun and I’ve hated a lot of it. There have been many anxious moments, and ambiguity doesn’t seem to describe the half of it.
Still, I can’t say that it’s all been altogether horrible and dire for me/us either. God has provided and been good to us all along. In many ways you could say we’ve moved through this meantime without much of a hitch for me and my family. Moving back to Michigan has been good and I am so grateful for my in-laws and letting us live with them. I am not sure things could have worked out better for my kids with school, friends, and other things. We haven’t gone bankrupt. In fact, I’ve been funded through two units of Clinical Pastoral Education (chaplaincy clinicals or internships), I have a great part-time hospital chaplain position, my wife has now found a full-time job she’s really enjoying, and we’ve been able to even begin adding to our savings. Etc, etc…
We are basically at the point that when I find more work with either an additional part-time job or something full-time, possibilities could be instantly upon us. Talk about being on the verge, the brink, the threshold…
In this meantime I keep believing, waiting, and trusting in God’s sovereign plan. He does have a purpose in this barren land. The end isn’t so much the goal, actually the journey, the meantime itself, is.
This week has marked the beginning of a new calendar season in the church calendar year which is commonly called “Ordinary Time”. Usually this season goes from right after Pentecost until the first Sunday in Advent, about six months or so, however, some traditions begin Ordinary Time immediately following Easter Sunday making it even longer. With most of our lives seeming rather ordinary it makes good sense to term such a long span of time as such. I also think it makes sense to place this post directly at the cusp of Ordinary Time because meantimes (thresholds, liminal spaces, journeys, etc) can seem like the ordinary in our lives, however, so is God’s sovereign plan.
In the meantime of putting this post together a poem emerged from within that I share below…
In The Meantime…
In the meantime…
A common line,
A common time.
And sometimes it feels like just that;
A mean time.
It’s an in-between,
A middle ground.
An interim period,
Sometimes churning within.
At times feeling forsaken. (Ps. 22:1 & Matt. 27:46)
Not much hurriedly!
Isn’t there a time and reason
for every season under heaven?
Something beautiful yet emerging
from between Ecclesiastes 3:1 to 11.
Time rolls on, or so they say.
Life is short, this is the day. (Psalm 118:24)
Still believing in God’s good and sovereign plan. (Jer. 29:11)
knowing there is purpose yet in this barren land. (Rom. 5:6 & 8:28)
This mean-time will one day soon unravel,
With God holding needle and thread, never gavel.
Though life’s lickin’s can somehow seem altogether ordinary,
God’s promise and purposes keep on tickin’;
And we trust amidst the journey. (Ps. 57:1-2, Hab. 2:3)
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” ~ Romans 8:25
“I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.”
~ Psalm 57:1b-2