The In Between
This stopped me in my tracks today. Literally. Pulled over on the side of the road to take the picture and just sat there reflecting on it.
I woke up this morning with a thought in my mind about the in between, the space between the promise and the fulfillment of it. The space where it seems all has died and everything we know has been a lie. It’s been burning on my heart since about 1 am. And then I saw this while picking up some masks for my family.
Yesterday, we who call ourselves Christians honored Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. The day Mary looked upon a cross to see her child hanging there, bleeding out, being mocked. The child she’d conceived without IVF or the help of a man. The one she had a promise was going to save humanity. 33 years later she is there at the foot of the cross and he was hanging there, dying. And then he took his last breath and said, “It is Finished.”
Can you imagine what that must have felt like? Imagine the story is true… imagine that Mary really was a virgin… really did birth the savior… really did raise this child and get him to adulthood and all this time she’s like, “Okay God so um… I heard what you said but I’m not seeing it… can I get at least a clue that I’m not insane!” Did she ever question whether she was drugged and raped? Did she ever wonder did she maybe go too far with one of the loca boys and maybe just maybe … well, I have teens here so I won’t explore that thought. But you can imagine that as she walked away from the cross that day she had to be questioning where she went wrong… where she misheard… but MARY KNEW she hadn’t been with anyone so that day she had to be so confused. What just happened to her promise?
The In between. This space where it’s empty and lonely. She watched her promise die. She watched along with everyone else as he took his last breaths.
How many of you have been there?
When we look at Scripture, we see Mary watching her son die, watching her promise end, watching all that she believed was become impossible. She literally watched her promise die (John 19). Then we don’t see her again until Acts 1 when she is in the Upper Room with the disciples, on one accord. So we don’t know for sure whether she had a crisis of faith or whether she backed away. We can assume she went with John, as Jesus suggested on the cross. But knowing humans, we can also assume it wasn’t an easy thing. The Bible tells us Jesus rose three days later. Three days of believing her son was dead. Three days mourning as both a mom and a human. Mary, mother of God, watched as her son and her promise were taken away in one breath. A promise now unfulfilled.
Let’s assume Mary had allllll the faith. That she had access to the prophecies and that she believed God would come through… let’s assume she was strong that most of us and didn’t question all she’d been told. Let’s assume what I said above wasn’t what she wondered. What went through her mind?
The space in between. That time when we choose to continue moving forward or to sit still. The space where we choose to believe or to doubt. That space where we decide whether to show up or sit down. The space where we decide what we want to be known for.
We are all literally in the space in between Good Friday and Easter / Resurrection Sunday, as well as we this space in between pre-COVID and post-COVID life. Some of us are loving this moment and some of us are wondering how this year is supposed to be so amazing and transformational when we’ve been placed on a global time out. Some of us have been here for a long time – and this is just a continuation of several years of feeling like nothing makes sense. Some of us realize this is a pivotal moment. Some of us are cursing and some are praising. We don’t know which Mary was ir what she went through. But we know she was in the space in between. And we are with her in this moment. Today.
I want to encourage us all to see the pivot. To see this opportunity to truly reflect on what we believe, who we honor, how we show up. Mary had to make a choice to show up to the Upper Room. We don’t know how she made it there or what happened between the cross and the Upper Room, but we know she arrived. Maybe this is a lesson that not everyone needs to be invited into your space between. Maybe there’s a time and place where we get to be alone and make decisions ourselves and decide how we will move forward without others knowing our moves. Maybe, just maybe, like trees that grow through rocks and the mother of God who watch her son die one day and then dined with Him a little while later, we don’t need everyone to know every moment and every action. We need to step away with God and allow only Him and us know what happens. We need to just let people see us one day when we’ve completed our space between and come out on the other side.
Maybe you’re in that space in between your promise and your fulfillment? If so, don’t stop believing. I’ve driven by that tree thousands of times and never noticed it, but today it stood out. Mary watched her son die and then ate with Him AFTERWARDS. Sometimes it had to look like the promise has died for us to truly appreciate the presence of faith and the strength within us to keep going when all looks lost. It’s not easy. That tree fought to grow. Mary most certainly wrestled with her faith at some point – she’s human. You can wrestle and scream and curse. But in the end, if God said it, He WILL finish it because He’s not a man that He shall lie and He doesn’t speak words that come back void. Keep believing. Keep pressing in – even if that means resting for a time. Ask Him to be with you and to hold you through the transition. He is with you.