As we travel through life there are times when we long to recapture the last chapter. And there are other times when we can’t wait for the next chapter to emerge. But the problem with looking backward to recapture or looking forward in anticipation is that we are likely to miss out on the gifts God gives between the zones.
Last week, I watched with pride as my son graduated from High School. As I sat in the Key Arena along with hundreds of photo-shooting parents, I flashed through the memories of his birth, his first day of school, teaching him to ski, and climbing mountains with him. It’s cliché, but true: the time goes very, very fast. And there is no pause button.
Next week I will gather with the Executive Board of the Evangelical Covenant Church for my last meeting of a six-year term. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve alongside people of deep character, focused vision, and passion to equip churches to serve Jesus.
This week, between my son’s graduation from High School and my graduation from the Executive Board, I am reminded that life is a series of transitions. One chapter flows into the next in a never ceasing stream. Carried by this current, we tend to look back or forward, and in doing do, miss out on the gifts given between zones.
That’s the way it was for the Israelites. Recused by God, they left the bondage of Egypt, and wandered though a desert for forty-years, waiting anxiously and sometimes impatiently to enter the Promised Land. After they settled, they found new forms of idolatry and bondage. And after they were deported, the prophets pointed back to the desert wanderings as the richest time of their dependence on God.
I suspect that many of us have the illusion that life will someday settle, and then, finally, life will get better. But the times in-between are potentially the richest times. During those times, what we value becomes clarified, our character gets refined, and God becomes more real.
God in his wisdom created us to live in time. We have a past and we have a future, but we live between those zones only and always in the present. So if I’m not content now, then I’m not likely to be content later, because I never arrive–not in this life, and perhaps not in the life to come, which, I believe, will have it’s own progression on a different level.
In effect, we are always, only between the zones. So this week I’m praying for the gift of awareness: “Lord, help me to be aware of the gifts you offer to me now, between the zones.”