“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” John 16:16
These are the words of Jesus to His closest friends, hours before His betrayal, arrest, trial, beating and crucifixion. They were having supper together. The mood of the room was serious. Passover was underway. As if with a riddle, He prepares them for what is to come.
Soon, He would be gone, but then He would be back.
Their eyes locked on His, the disciples fill with silent questions.
The dinner over, the small group of people leave what we have come to call the Upper Room, and they walk a short distance together across the brook Kidron to a small garden of olive presses. There Jesus is arrested: betrayal, fighting, shouting . . . fear.
The friends scatter.
Throughout the night and into the next day, they witness or learn of their leader’s execution. Confused, discouraged and disbelieving, they try to eat, walk . . . work.
They stare unsmiling. Time stops.
“. . . and again a little while, and you will see me.”
They try to make sense of the last few hours, work to connect it all with what they had experienced as they walked and lived with this kind and amazing man. The disciples had heard Jesus’ promise to never leave them or forsake them, and yet. . . He was gone.
Their hearts are as broken as their minds were confused. They are waiting for what is to come.
They are living “in between.”
We often find ourselves living in the “in between:” waiting, wondering and watching for a yet-to-be fulfilled promise or hope, the often-immeasurable span of time that marks the distance between:
- A slammed door and the return home.
- A diagnosis and the healing.
- A tearful prayer and the joyful answer.
- The wrongful accusation and the liberating truth.
- A lost job and the new position.
- The stinging insult and the heart-felt apology.
- “I love you,” and “I love you, too.”
These are the gray days of not knowing, days to test and temper our faith. These are the long nights of anguished questions out into a deep but often silent heaven: “Did I miss something?” “Did I misunderstand?”
We are suspended in mid-air, breathless, waiting to come down on the other side of something we hope for but cannot yet grasp.
And it is in these spaces, if we will persevere in the waiting, that the boundaries of our faith are pushed outward. God asks us to trust and obey Him “in between,” to remember His promises to never leave, never forsake, always prevail in His purposes for our lives and for His Kingdom.
He always wins, and eventually, so will we.
I am learning that living “in between” requires hopeful waiting that always has an end.
Most instances of our living in the “in between” resolve in this life, but some require a resurrection.
We aren’t given to know the duration of our faith, only the strength to keep it.
In this life or in the one to come, our hope will be fulfilled.
For the disciples, the “in between” ended suddenly with a knock on the door and a message delivered early Sunday morning, a message for all of us:
“We have seen Him.”
“. . . Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:20-21