In Between

In February 2020, mere weeks before COVID-19 happened, I had a medical scare.

I had been sick and was awaiting some test results. The symptoms I was having and the kinds of tests the doctor had ordered all painted a very grim picture indeed. As each day passed, bringing me inevitably closer to the results date, I became increasingly anxious.

It was an unsettling state, emotionally and spiritually. You see, some Christians believe that if you trust in Jesus, you will never feel anxiety. And I trusted Jesus. I really did. I kept praying about the impending test results, surrendering myself to God again and again.

But the anxiety persisted. If anything, it became stronger, the more I prayed.

The anxiety became stronger, the more I prayed.

Does this mean I was lacking in faith?

Did I need to pray more, pray harder?

Was my anxiety representative of some deeper, enigmatic sin?

No, no and no.

The strange reality of Christianity is that trust in Jesus can co-exist alongside anxiety. Loving God does, at times, bring an inexplicable peace, but it doesn’t happen every time like a magic trick. Sometimes fear persists, no matter what we do.

Like it did for Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

So there I was, praying, feeling the rising threat of a life-altering diagnosis. There was nothing I could do to resolve or speed up the process. I simply had to wait. I was stuck somewhere between knowing I was sick and not knowing how bad it was, between trusting God and treading water.

I was in the land of ‘in between’.

I was in the land of ‘in between’.

And God was there. He did not take away the fear, but he sat with me right in the middle of it. He did not leave me to struggle on alone but stayed by my side, holding me, helping me without delivering me.

Being a musician, I decided the best thing to do with my stubborn fear was to set it to music. And so In Between was born. Then COVID-19 hit and I realised just how fitting the in-between metaphor is for many of us, and for the year 2020.

As we wait in this stuck place, in the land of not-knowing, in this frustrating state of waiting indefinitely, we can call on God. He may answer, or he may be silent; he may give us peace, or he may grant strength to withstand the onslaught of anxiety; he may deliver us, or he may not.

But he will never leave us.

God will never leave us.

Whatever happens with this pandemic, we know God has not forgotten us. Even if we get sick, even if we catch COVID-19, he will not leave us to fend for ourselves. He will be by our side, walking with us in the lonely places where we must walk.

And even if we die, it is our early mark to go home and be with him forever.

Have you ever felt trapped in an in-between place? How do you cope when life becomes unpredictable? Does God feel near during those times? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation. 

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