The Joy of the In-Between


And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

-- 2 Corinthians 3:18

Jesus takes us from glory to glory to glory.

We are called to be His partners on earth, witnessing and taking part in His goodness in ways that we can’t even imagine.

But what about the “to”? The in-between? When you’ve left one glory of God, but you’re not yet to the next?

I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary of being in the “to.”

And the “to”? It feels weird and chaotic and uncomfortable.

And while I’ve come to appreciate and revel in this season of life, it’s taken me lots of time and talks with Jesus to get here. Because in the “to,” there’s lots of change and yet, it feels like everything is still the same.

In the “to,” I feel like I’m moving at the speed of light, but I’m not going anywhere.

And then, there’s the fear.

Fear that I’m being left behind. Fear that I’m leaving people behind. Fear that I have no idea what’s coming up next. Fear that I’m going to fail, just like I have in the past. Fear that my Heavenly Father is not as good as I’d thought. Fear that I’m always going to be stuck in this season. Fear that I’m alone and always will be.

I’ve never experienced fear like I have in this “to” season.

And there’ve been days when it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning. It’s debilitating. And the “what if”s that circled my head? They kept me trapped in a web of lies and deceit.

The fear consumed me.

And while perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18), I was stuck.

I couldn’t get past the fear of the unknown. And I wouldn’t let Jesus help me do it.

But I’ve come to learn that if I don’t let Jesus in, He’ll get through to me somehow. Because His love is greater.

And as I was listening to one of Bill Johnson’s sermons a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that he loves looking in the Old Testament for pictures of God’s grace. Then, he began speaking about a chapter in Nehemiah.

In the story, a group of new Christians were having the Bible read to them for the very first time. But as they heard the Word, they began to feel shameful, because they’d fallen short.

And then, after they’d finished, Nehemiah announces that they’re going to have a feast. Everyone is confused and looks around, wondering why, when they didn’t deserve one.

That’s when Bill started talking about joy.

Because the feast was a celebration, not of their accomplishments (or lack thereof), but of the joy of the Lord, which is our strength.

Needless to say, I cried for much of the podcast. Like, ugly crying, too. And I couldn’t stop hiccuping.

I’m sure it wasn’t pretty, but Jesus was there the whole time. His arms were around me as I was finally able to deal with the anger and the hurt and the fear. And just cry it out.

Here I was, feeling alone and unwanted and scared, and Jesus was asking me to be joyful? It didn’t make sense and at first, I was hurt that He was asking me to do so.

“Can’t you see that joy is the exact opposite of what I’m feeling right now?” I asked Jesus.

But He just smiled and wiped away my tears. “But My joy is not of this world,” He said. “And neither are you. Look up.”

And then, everything clicked. And it all started making sense.

And the lies and deceit and fear and hurt fell away, and I could see clearly...

That even in the midst of the fog, I can celebrate, because I know my God is good (Psalm 136:1).

That even though I’m not sure what’s to come, I can celebrate, because my God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

That even though what I’ve been praying for hasn’t yet come to pass, I can celebrate, because I know my God can hear me (1 John 5:14).

And that even though I’m a mess and I make mistakes and I stumble/fall, I can celebrate, because my God has’t given up on me yet (Hebrews 12:2).

And it might sound kind of corny, but this revelation changed everything.

Now, I’m not seeking to get out of the “to” as fast as I can. Instead, I’m spending all my time with Jesus. I’m asking Him to speak to me, to teach me and to prune me.

And for the first time in my life, I’m joyful.

I have so much joy that I feel like it’s overflowing out of me!!

And while I have a feeling my “to” season isn’t going to last much longer, I’m relishing this time of intimacy and growing so close with Jesus. And I’m not scared anymore! I’m celebrating!!

Because even though we go from glory to glory, the “to” is for His glory, too.

Reflection

1. Have you been living in fear? If so, what of?

2. Do you believe that “the joy of the Lord is my strength”? Why or why not?

Prayer

Jesus, thank You that even when I’m in the “to,” You’re right there. That You never leave my side. Thank You that even when I don’t believe and I feel crazy and all alone, You still never leave me. Thank You that, even though Satan is trying to use this season for his gain, it’s all for Your glory. I pray, Jesus, that any anxiety, hesitation, or fear would be gone, in Jesus’ name. I pray that You’d help my unbelief. I pray that You’d increase my faith and that my confidence in You would be unwavering. I also pray that the lessons and teachings You have for me in the “to” would take hold. Because I only want what You have for me. I thank You for Your goodness and Your kindness and Your love. I thank You for the plans You have for me. And I bless this season. I ask that only Your will would be done. I love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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#trustingGod #transitions #fear #joy

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