Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah – Psalms 61:1-4 (NIV)
It is hard to be in between. Feeling unsettled, un-rooted, unfamiliar. Being in that place that fills in the space from where you’ve been and where you are going. Between now and then, here and there and what is and what shall be we find ourselves realizing how much we need God. David was a man who understood the time and place in between.
David learned the hard way that the only thing that could fill the in between was God. It was God alone who made sense of the in between, revealing it as the connective tissue in a life of purpose and meaning. Instead of the in between being a place of isolation and disorientation, God uses it to reconnect and reorient. But it is easy for us to get lost in the in between.
If we are not ready for the in between, it can overwhelm us and leave us wandering, hovering in a holding pattern with no place to land in sight. God uses everything to transform His children, even the in between. I need to show my children how valuable the in between is before they become professionals at distraction busyness.
It is a common habit to keep children occupied, but I think the better discipline – and the harder to teach – is to teach our children to be content when they are not occupied. Our society has made whole industries based on distraction for the in between. We don’t enjoy the quiet of a drive on mountain roads; we pop in a CD or show a movie to keep the kids from tearing each other apart. But maybe we are missing something. Maybe our kids will benefit more from seeking what is profitable during their in betweens rather than finding ways to waste time.
Will our children run to the Wii or to the Word? Do they seek comfort in the still small voice or the next track on the CD? Are they following friends on Facebook or following Jesus? Are they filling the empty space of in between with distractions or with the things of God? What do my children see me do with the in between? (That one stings!)
I want the in between in my life and lives of my children to be rich and meaningful and time well spent. I want to look back and see how the in between connected the crisis and celebrations and calms of our life together into a storyline of purpose and power and meaning. I want to see what the time of longing for God’s refuge and being securely in the midst of His refuge looks like.
Lord, help me to live fully in the in between. May I lead my children well in making use of the time instead of wasting it. Show our family how You move in the in between and let us linger as long as You need us to. Amen.