In-Between Places

In-Between Places

“Be still and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10 ESV

Most of us like things all wrapped up in nice little packages.  We typically don’t like things messy or frayed.  Unfortunately, much of life is spent in awkward spaces where things are not neat and tidy, where we are in-between things.  A few weeks ago, my granddaughter was between crawling and walking.  Soon graduates will be between high school and college or between college and career.  Engaged couples are between single and married.  Santa Clara County is between stage 1 and stage 2 of the state’s plan to re-open.  We’re between virus outbreak and vaccine, between economic downturn and recovery, many are between jobs.  We are torn between listening to science and data and broken-hearted people losing their jobs or businesses, in fear of becoming destitute.  

Often called liminal space, we can’t rush or short cut these in-between places.  We have to dwell there on the threshold; “sit among the weeds” so-to-speak.  We don’t like liminal space because we have to hold the tension, the ambiguity, the unknowing, even when we’d much rather run ahead to a place of security.  However, if we can face into the transitions, we’ll experience God in ways we never expected and find that He meets us there, even though we’re struggling to trust that His ways are higher than ours.

In the Bible we see many folks deal with the tension of liminal space – it’s part of everyone’s journey.  Consider Jacob, Naomi, Ruth and Mary of Bethany.  Several years ago, Bernard gave a great sermon explaining that the Holy Saturday between the crucifixion and death of Jesus on Good Friday and His resurrection on Sunday was the ultimate day in-between, liminal space, between death and new life.

We are living in a historical time and it’s also a liminal space. Most of us have never lived through anything like this. We’re on the threshold, between what was and what’s next.  We trust and obey. Hope in the Lord and call upon His name.  We wait and watch for His grace and unusually wrapped gifts that perhaps can only be received in such a time as this.  As one of my favorite poems says at the beginning and end, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God… Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.” —Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God,
    above politics, above everything.”

Psalm 46:10 The Message