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Has God forgotten about me?

July 25, 2011

I’ve had this conversation with a couple of friends recently so I know I’m not alone in asking this question. I have wondered this a number of times in my life. Since coming to Nashville three years ago, I have wondered this quite a lot.

See, I was never supposed to be here.

At least as far I had planned. Yes, I know, my plans are not His plans, that is not the point, well, yes it is, but stop badgering me, I’m trying to tell a story.

In the spring of 2008 my future seemed simple enough: find a job overseas, finish grad school, move and start said job. But it didn’t quite happen that way. I couldn’t find a job overseas. The few possibilities that did open up didn’t pan out. I was frustrated, anxious, and overwhelmed. Not a good combination. I wasn’t sure what to do. I think there were a number of things I was dealing with. One, I was just tired of moving around from one temporary place to another. In the previous 11 years I had moved six times. I just wanted some stability in life or if I couldn’t have that, I wanted someone to share life with. See, the thing that affects you most about moving that much is the starting over, each and every time, and that you make good friendships just in time to move away and lose touch with those people. Sure, I still talk with a few of those people, but most I never heard from again. It begins to wear on you. At some point you realize you could handle the temporary lifestyle, if there was just one constant, a person to walk through it with you. But neither the life partner nor the amazing job were working out.

In a meeting with a lady, after asking me some questions, she said, “maybe God has something else in store for you right now. Maybe there are some steps you need to go through before you get overseas.” Many people were telling me to just pick a place and go, but something about what she said resonated with me and made me think that she was speaking truth. I was not a fan of more “in between” living, but nothing else was making sense, so maybe this was right.

That is how I found myself moving to Nashville. After graduating, I was driving across the country to my parents and along the way I stopped in Nashville. While in a meeting, with the president of a non profit, I just felt like God was saying Nashville is where you will be spending this in between time. I said sure, figuring I would be there for a year, tops, and then off to far off places. That was three years ago.

So here I am. I have no idea what God has in store for me. I am not using either one of my master’s degrees, I don’t feel at home here, and for most of the time I have been here I have been working as a computer programmer, which is not who I am, what I want to do, or what I love. And so the questions bubble up to the surface, God, have you forgotten about me? Why am I here? What am I doing? What is the purpose of this?

While talking with a friend the other day he said something that has stuck with me, “the trial corresponds with the promise.” See, Abraham was promised an heir and yet he had to wait 25+ years for the promise to be fulfilled. Joseph was promised he would rule, but he had to spend a good deal of his life in prison, the opposite of the promise. I would be willing to bet they both asked these questions a number of times. Shoot, Abraham went so far as to try to fulfill the promise on his own. So I know I am not alone in asking.

It is only recently that I am coming to see that there is purpose in the waiting, in the in between, and in the journey. If I hadn’t come here I wonder if I would have found a counselor as amazing as I have, who is helping me deal with some things in my past? Would I have come across an organization like Ultimate Goal, that is allowing me to use my passions for soccer and ministry together. Or an organization like Exile International which is helping me get trained in sports trauma therapy, the very thing I have been wanting to do for years? Would I have found a group of friends who are on the same journey in regards to church and would that lead to me learning about organic church? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I have found those things here and so maybe God hasn’t forgotten about me at all.

Earlier this year, over at Sit a Spell, Heather shared the following about “the inbetween” from Deeper Walk, a Relevant Devotional Series. It is good enough to repost below.

*********

There’s a place between here and there.  A piece of ground in the middle of take-off and landing.  A section of the unknown within beginning and ending.  You probably find yourself there from time to time.  It’s the land known as Inbetween.

Inbetween is one of the most rugged places in life.  You aren’t fully here, and you aren’t fully there.  Your emotions and hopes are strewn across an endless list of possibilities.  Door knobs of wood, brass, and silver line the path, but which will open?  In the land of Inbetween, the paths are lined with sealed envelopes and foggy dreams.  Excitement runs forward and fears hold back.  And if you stay long enough, you feel the tremors of  your soul.

The land of Inbetween is downright scary.  It’s a place of blind trust.  It’s where the pedals of faith meet the narrow road of fortitude and where movement is demanded though there’s no place to go.  The worst part of this land isn’t the uncertainty or frustration that accompany it – it’s that God likes it when you’re there.

While He’s no sadist, God loves the land of Inbetween.  He loves what it does to us.  He loves the humility and dependence it creates in our hearts, so He creates innumerable forks in life’s road that swerve us into the land of Inbetween.  The unknowns of job, marriage, children, and home are the signs of this uncertain land.  At times, people are thrust into Inbetween by mishaps, accidents, sudden deaths, and even unexpected fortune.  Some people visit so many times they begin to wonder if it’s life.  And they aren’t far off.

So what will hold you steady when you walk through the terrain of Inbetween?  A recognition that Inbetween is God’s design.  In one miraculous moment, the Creator of the universe placed you in the greatest Inbetween of all time – the place between the earthly creation and eternity.  Life’s smaller lunges forward and backward are merely postcard reminders that there’s something greater than this place we’re visiting.

If you’re in your own land of Inbetween, remember that God was the original designer of this journey.  You can get mad, scream, and even pout if you want. But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re merely passing through.  Everything else is Inbetween.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah. permalink
    July 25, 2011 8:10 pm

    Finally.

    And thank you.
    I’m still listening.

  2. July 25, 2011 8:41 pm

    Your depth of character shows in your writing. thanks for sharing your soul, friend. miss ya

    • July 26, 2011 9:03 am

      thanks friend. miss you too

  3. Jen permalink
    July 26, 2011 11:19 am

    Thanks for sharing this Jon! We definitely need a constant reminder that God does have a purpose in EVERYTHING and believe that His blessing is the uncertainty of it all 🙂

    • July 26, 2011 3:00 pm

      Glad you liked it. Yeah, we humans hate uncertainty. We get very anxious over the future and the uncertainty it holds. We love control and not being able to control the future freaks us out. I am coming to realize that I have no control, over anything, and the more I realize this and lay down my claim to control, the more I am able to allow fear to be a positive emotion and lead me towards faith and trust in God instead of a negative emotion that leads me to anxiety.

  4. July 26, 2011 11:50 am

    ” I just wanted some stability in life or if I couldn’t have that, I wanted someone to share life with. ”

    Thank you . . this has been my heart cry so much of late and so encouraging to hear it echoed and know I’m not alone in that. It’s not so much that I’ve moved, but that the others have moved around me.

    I live and minister in a very transient city overseas, and that longing for others to weather the transiency with sounds very familiar. As does the temptation to wonder if indeed there is purpose to the ongoing ache, and hoping.

    Thank you for sharing. Good to hear, that your seeing the purpose in the waiting.

    • July 26, 2011 3:18 pm

      It can be extremely difficult to admit that we feel loneliness (there is much negative social stigma attached to this). But loneliness is just a cry for intimacy. To know others and to be known. We were made by God for relationship, both to him and to others. The transient lifestyle makes this difficult as the more we or others move the more we begin to guard ourselves against further hurt by creating walls and barriers around our hearts and by keeping others at arms-length. It makes it “easier” but certainly not better. We have to be willing to risk sadness and being hurt when we or others move away, because it is only in risking much and trusting, that intimacy in relationships occurs.

  5. Hart permalink
    July 27, 2011 5:05 pm

    I saw this post on my friend’s Facebook wall. Thank you for writing this. It is such an encouragement.

    • July 27, 2011 6:24 pm

      I am glad it could encourage you

  6. toni permalink
    December 13, 2014 9:04 pm

    This came at I time I so needed this. About 9 months ago I lost my job and was almost on the streets. My sister took me in. I am slowly rebuilding but I really don’t feel wanted and yearn for a life I remembered. Oh and I pray and pray and pray. I guess their are reasons for my in-between.

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