Published on November 15th, 2013 | by Nathaniel0
Guest Post: Finding God in the In-Between
It had been a long day and I was eager to get home, but there I sat, entrenched by the sea of cars on the 405 freeway. A drive that should have taken a mere 30-minutes turned into an hour and a half! I waited… and waited until I had finally reached my waiting threshold. Anxiety and frustration welled up inside me and I was just about ready to pull my hair out!
But in the midst of my internal clamor, I heard a gentle voice.
“Child, do you see the sunset? Receive this gift.”
I paused and looked again. Yes, Jesus schooled me in the middle of the 405 freeway! 😉 In my eagerness to get home, I had failed to see the most majestic sunset I had ever laid eyes on. Red, gold, and orange hues danced in the clouds before me. It was breathtaking! In that moment I felt a gentle conviction. I couldn’t help but wonder, “How many sunsets have I been missing?”
After this realization, the drive home that evening was one of the most enjoyable drives I can remember. The traffic before me remained chaotic and I still longed to get home, but my soul was at rest. For the first time in a while, I was able to fully perceive the majesty of God before me.
Such is the liminal aspect of the kingdom of God. The word “liminal” literally means threshold, or encompassing two things at once, in Latin. It’s the “in-between” place of waiting and yearning for God to come through, and having eyes “wide open” to perceive the way the presence of God is already at work; it is living in the tension of both simultaneously.
Theologian Alexander Schmemann, describes that this awareness of the “presence of Christ […] allows us to see the ultimate reality of life. It is not an escape from the world, rather it is the arrival at a vantage point from which we can see more deeply into the reality of the world.”
The Israelites were all too familiar with liminal living. For 40 years they lived in the “in-between” season of being free from slavery and still yearning for the Promised Land. Yet in the midst of their longing and grumbling, they failed to perceive the very presence of God at work around them!
I don’t know about you, but much like the Israelites, my natural response isn’t to look for God in the “in-between” seasons of life. And I am currently in the midst of what seems like a LONG in-between season. I admit that it’s easier for me to perceive the ways I need God to come through, than to have my eyes open to the ways His presence is already at work. This year I felt the call from God to be a full-time campus minister with InterVarsity, yet I’m still at home raising ministry support. In this liminal season, living in the Kingdom of God means being BOTH painfully real with God about my eagerness to be on campus soon and my having eyes wide open to perceive where God is at work in me and around me.
For it was in an “in-between” season that the Israelites received manna from heaven. It was during the fierce pursuit of the enemy that the red seas were parted, and it was in the midst of painful uncertainty that the very presence of God went before His people!
I don’t know about you, but in the “in-between” seasons of life, I don’t want to miss the presence of God breaking through!
In what areas of your life do you yearn for God to break through?
In the midst of the your honest yearnings for God, in the midst of feeling stuck, and in the midst of the limlinal spaces in life, may you always have the courage to ask, “God, give me eyes to truly see you.”
Christina Quintanilla is a campus minister through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at CSU Fresno. She desires to see the Kingdom of God break through in the lives of college students around the nation.
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