October is over and we have found ourselves in another Autumn, a new school year, and even deeper into this bizarre year of 2020.
My year has been extra strange and is finally feeling a little more normal almost 10 months in. I figured some things out health wise and have been doing much better, thank God for that! (click on the link to find out what was going on with me if you haven’t read it.)
Unfortunately, my writing and blog have taken a bit of a backseat to life. Or perhaps not unfortunate, since it means I’ve been busy living, and typically all this living gives me more to write about. So it’s a fair exchange.
My family and I have just moved into our new home and have been working on getting settled. It’s nice to be home. We were living in a rental for 8 months and life just felt—well, for lack of a better term—weirdly in-between.
“In-between” seems to have been my word this year: Living in a rental, waiting for a house to be built, dealing with health issues, all while trying to maneuver in this weird pandemic world.
And I’ve been floundering somewhere between faith and fear through it all.
I don’t know about you but being in-between can be difficult. It’s a place where fear arises easily. I would love to believe it’s all good things for miles on the other side of that hill. However, if I’m being honest, I often find myself stuck in the quagmire of “what-if” instead.
The unknown that comes with the state of being in-between often causes feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and even severe anxiousness.
And while we’re on the topic of uncertainty and insecurity, can we just address the elephant in the room— the current state of our world? Ouch…talk about lack of security.
Every day the headlines scream that this world is falling apart faster than we can put it back together; A pandemic, social and political unrest, forest fires, and now, here in the US, a presidential election that has been and is currently bringing high emotions whatever the outcome.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Right?
This not-normal, in-between, awkward place can feel downright scary.
Reading in the gospels recently reminded me of some other people who I believe felt “in-between” for a time.
In the final chapter of the gospel of John, after Jesus’ life and death, there is a natural lull where we find the disciples in Galilee. If we’re going to follow the typical pyramid structure of writing, we’re to assume a resolution is on the horizon. But here in this space of waiting, we find the disciples fishing. (*Matthew 28:10).
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat… John 21:3
At this point, Peter had followed Jesus, denied him, ran into the empty tomb, saw Jesus alive in the upper room, and met privately with his Lord.
And now…he’s going fishing.
And so he fished…
I can only imagine the range of emotions they must have felt. One day they were following Jesus across rivers, up mountains, watching him heal the sick and raise the dead, all in preparation for his reign and rule. And the next thing they knew, he was hanging on a cross. We have to assume they believed the story had ended when the stone rolled over the grave.
But then he rose from the dead and presented himself to his friends. The highest of highs turned into the lowest of lows and right back around.
Heartbreaking, miraculous, tremendous, life-shaking events.
All for the disciples to end up on a boat, fishing…again. It seems rather anti-climactic, don’t you think?
I can’t help but wonder if the disciples felt “in-between” after Jesus died and then rose again. I mean, “What now?” Had to be on their minds while they waited in Galilee. Even after they’d seen their Lord alive I imagine they were left a bit rudderless and uncertain.
So, while they waited, they did what they knew how to do. They just kept living life. Peter decided to do the one thing he knew he was pretty good at; fishing.
This account is highly detailed for such a mundane evening and activity, which leads me to believe it’s important. He and a few of the other disciples went out all night and they fished. They came up empty-handed until Jesus appeared on the shore in the morning. He directed them to put their net on the other side where they pulled in so many fish they couldn’t even pull in the net.
He met them there in the middle of the mundane. Right smack in the in-between.
So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” John 21:9&10
I just love reading this account. I imagine they were cold and hungry after fishing all night and coming up with nothing. And here their Lord, as only he can, meets them with a crackling fire, freshly roasted fish, and deliciously warm bread.
He was here to show himself one last time.
Finally the in-between becomes their mission.
In the gospels we find the account of Jesus rising and then presenting himself to his disciples in different ways and at several different times. The painful in-between of the grave and His miraculous rising had been resolved; The believing, the doubting, the repentant denier, and the severely sorrowful were shown He had arisen. And yet, this wasn’t the end of the story. They had to wait a little while longer for the purpose of it all.
Sometime after their breakfast with Jesus and the gathering of all the disciples, Jesus would share his ultimate purpose and plan:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 16 & 20
The wondering and waiting were over. But with Jesus being caught into the clouds shortly after his announcement came an entirely new in-between.
A whole new in-between
The funny thing about feeling in-between is that in reality, we are always in-between while we’re on this Earth.
Just as I’m sure the disciples shortly discovered, we’re in-between until we’re in His arms.
There is a “The End” to this story, but not just yet.
Part of living in-between means we come to realize how little control we really have. We’re stuck between what happened before and what comes after. And that leaves ample opportunity to be afraid of what comes next. But this fear that accompanies our existence was never meant to be our focus.
Our real focus is the words Jesus spoke all those many years ago: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”
His authority is what keeps this big blue ball spinning. It’s what keeps us waking up to a new day and breathing in and out. We are here because of his authority over all things. Not just part of “the things” but all the things.
We’re here in the in-between where it hurts and we have no control of the hurts that we endure.
A king is coming and a kingdom percolating that is far greater than any mere man could think up.
So, friend, as we sit in the in-between of a pandemic, the outcome of an election, or any other number of things you’re enduring here on this Earth—know this–our King already has ALL authority over:
Any world structure or system.
And the best news of all? His authority is yours by way of the cross.
We may not have all of the answers here in this in-between but He absolutely does. This is the most beautiful truth for us because it means we are free!
You’re free, my friend.
Free to live life because it’s not up to you to make all the pieces fit. I think maybe you needed to hear this today: it’s not your responsibility to figure out what’s next. No, your job is simply to do your next thing and He promises to meet you there in it.
So—go fishing—go do whatever it is that you are called to do while you wait to be in His arms. He will meet you there and more importantly, He is already with you.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,