The Space Between

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It’s been months since I’ve written.  There has been no lack of important things to talk about, but I’ve found that in this season, it’s been more important for me to listen, observe, and feel.  Although silence is often misinterpreted or misunderstood,  I’ve come to conclude that it’s in silence that one is more fully able to experience the space between.

“Between what?” you may ask. 

Between a biopsy and the results.

Between a diagnosis and prayer for healing.

Between the end of this life and the beginning of the next.  

Between a devastating accident and an uncertain future.

Between addiction and sobriety.

Between a misunderstanding and reconciliation.

Between uncertainty and stability.

Between war and peace.

In each space between there have been more tears than normal.  I feel that I have genuinely experienced what it means to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 ESV).

To be sure, there are times when the emotions have been so overwhelming that I’ve had to stop myself from getting pulled into a place of despair.  It’s much harder to help someone out of a pit when you’ve fallen into it yourself.  But then again, there’s great value in sitting with a loved one, right there on the dirty floor of the pit. 

The space between is also where I find the tension of believing for a miracle and accepting that things may never change.  This is one of the spaces in life where I’m the most vulnerable, and it demands that I confront difficult questions:

Why did this happen?

Why them and not me?

If this never gets better, is God still good?

I ask my readers to resist the temptation to give a hasty response to any of these deeply personal musings.  These are the questions that we all must wrestle with at certain times in our lives.  It’s easy to give someone an answer when we’re standing outside the space between.  However, until we can answer the questions for ourselves, from the floor of the pit, responses are trite and shallow. 

One of my favorite books is Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds Feet on High Places.  The title character, Much Afraid, sets out on a journey with two companions, Sorrow and Suffering.  The journey is difficult, painful, and full of tormenting fears.  But it is the journey itself that transforms Much Afraid as she finally comes to the High Place and receives a new name. 

If you find yourself in the space between, I want to encourage you to sit for a while and listen.  There will be a time when it’s necessary to get up, dust yourself off, and begin the difficult journey through.  But for now, don’t underestimate the power of stillness.  It may be this very thing that teaches you the skills you’ll need to overcome obstacles in the path ahead. 

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