Faith in the in-between
December 12, 2019
What are the dreams you’re believing for as we approach 2020? What was it that God whispered to you that has not yet come to fruition? And what happens in the in-between of a promise not yet realized? As the Christmas season approaches, let us not forget the 400 years of waiting that the nation of Israel found themselves in, between the book of Malachi and the advent of Christ in Matthew. Just like the Israelites awaited a promise, we too await promises in our lives. Knowing this, it is essential that we evaluate our attitude during the wait and once we receive the promise.
The nation of Israel received a plethora of promises, the most important one being the promise of the Messiah’s arrival.
During the wait, the attitude of the Israelites was fickle at best, yet those who held on to God’s promise even before they could get a glimpse of it, were those who God used for His glory. Personally, I have to fight the doubt that comes when believing for God’s promises. I recently asked my mentor an honest question, “Does it matter if I doubt or have faith in the in-between, especially if God is going to complete God’s promise anyway?” She answered me with a confused look. Asking this question helped me to quickly come to my own conclusion. Of course it matters! It’s keeping the faith in the in-between that brings God the most glory. Although God can “help our unbelief,” there is no honor and no glory to be found in doubting God’s promises.
After speaking with my mentor, I had a string of follow-up questions that I silently asked myself. All my silent inquiries led back to one place. If I’ve always wanted to live my life to glorify God, in all that I do, then logically it makes the most sense to glorify God in the waiting. In fact, it’s in my in-between that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on God’s vision for my life. The periods of waiting I have experienced inevitably changed the way I lived my life and the decisions I’ve made.
“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey,”[i] was a prophecy or promise from the prophet Zechariah about the coming Messiah. Yes, the Messiah was coming, but unlike what most believers at the time expected, he wasn’t coming to rescue the nation of Israel from the Roman Empire. Many Israelites did not accept Jesus as the Messiah because the promise of God came in a different package than they expected.
What is our response or attitude once the promise arrives in our own lives? Are we full of gratitude, or are we wanting the promise to come in a different package? You can navigate your attitude during the wait and once you receive the promise by choosing to not look at the promise as the ultimate goal or checklist, but as part of the journey God has you on. The promises are mountaintops on the way to the true reward, and that is God Himself—God is our very great reward.[ii] For me, this perspective removed the striving, and gave me an eternal view of what mattered most.
An encouragement to you as you are in the middle of your calling, in the middle of your ministry, or in between the promise and consummation of it: do not doubt what God has for you and do not give up. As King David was in his “in-between” in the middle of his anointing as king and actual position of king, he had many defeats; nevertheless, he did not give up. He was persistent, resilient, and hopeful that no matter how dark the middle was, God was going to show up in some form or fashion. There is molding and shaping that happens in the “middle” that cannot happen in the excitement of starting or in the adrenaline of achievement. God is working in the middle. This is a reminder to you as it is to me: “for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9).