The Mean Time

12:17 PM

Source: tumblr.com via Zoë on Pinterest

She got the text at 4:02 PM:
I'm not doing so great right now. I don't know where all this pain is coming from but 
it won't stop bleeding.
Then her voice on the other end: "So...what's up?"

"I don't know." I said it quiet. "I'm trying to wait for God, but He's not coming through."

She told me I'd been all over the place for the past few weeks -- giddy, giddy, giddy then crash the next second. Literally. She said I was being emotionally tough, holding everything in, not daring to let myself feel anything in case I missed God's will. I hadn't felt this way since last summer: bottom-of-the-pit living, facing weeks of spiritual agony and separation, nights of wanting to cry myself to sleep and never having the release to do it. I had vowed never to go back, back to where God wasn't there, back to waiting for God instead of waiting on God.

I didn't want to go back.

"Bailey," she said, after long pauses and stutters from my end, "you're not that deep in the pit. You're not. I honestly feel -- no, I know -- that this is an attack. Of course Satan's going to freak out that God's using you so powerfully. Don't you see it, what God's doing through you?"

To be honest? No. Yes. Sort of.

We didn't know what to do -- where the button was that rolled the burden away, how to release the spiritual tension, how to climb out of the pit. So she prayed for me -- forty-five minutes. Actually, she spent most of that time thanking God for what He had done and was doing, for the fact that He was here and loved me now and had conquered through the cross. Over and over again, she said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." And when she got to the Amen, I realized something I knew but kept missing: God always works in the present.

I waited and waited and waited for God to come in. A year ago I lay curled up on the cold floor in the dark and begged God to be real to me. I pleaded with Him to give me an all-consuming fire that burned with passion for Him. I couldn't do this on my own. And that wasn't trite piety -- I honest-to-goodness had no clue how to catch the Obsession.

On the one hand, I "knew" what to do -- pray, read my Bible, be obedient, submit, die to self. But it wasn't working. It was all me. There was too much me and too little God. Still, I was trying. I was trying so hard -- and where was God?

I hear this soul cry from so many of my close friends and acquaintances, my brothers and sisters in Christ: they want God so bad, and He's not there. They try so hard, and nothing happens. They want to do His will, and He is silent. In short, they wait. They wait in darkness. They wait in confusion. They wait in pain.

There's another thing we all have in common: we hate waiting. The meantime is mean time.

I haven't figured out how to avoid the meantime, because it can't be. Nor do I have a magic formula for getting out of it. Some days we hurt all over, and we will for a long time until time heals wounds. But I am learning that God always works in the present -- especially in the times I can't see it.

Even in the pain. Even in the tears. Even in the confusion. Even in the darkness.

It's when I'm broken that He binds up the wounds. It's when I can't hold anything back that He holds me close. It's when I am weak that He fills me with strength. God loves us now. God hears us now. God works in us now. God heals us now. Not when we feel spiritual or comforted or better. Now. We don't always see it, but that's where faith comes in -- "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

God doesn't abandon us when the going gets tough. It's the biggest lie Satan perpetrates against God's righteous ones -- that the second we lose our bearings or trip up or drown in tears, God flees. No.

No.

God is there. Reach out and grab hold. Here in the mean time.

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he will not be cast headlong,
for the LORD upholds his hand.

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13 impressions

  1. As a sister in the faith who knows this pain, I can only thank you for sharing this.

    I truly have no other words, dear Bailey. May God bless you. He is so good, He always is, even when we're hurting and confused. I'm so grateful for His upholding hand.

    Love in Him,
    Rachel

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  2. That's me. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing, and I hate the things we can't see.

    I think we all need the lesson of patience - and just going throught that takes just that - patience and trust. And a pillow to cry on. ;)

    On the other hand, beautiful pun on the word meantime, and thanks for the email...it brightened my day!

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  3. I am sorry you are going through a hard and painful time, but the post that resulted from your pain is beautiful and poetic. Gorgeous picture too.

    Adele

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  4. Have you ever read "The Cost of Discipleship" by Bonhoeffer? I've just started to read it, but your post reminded me of it.

    You know, I just feel muddled sometimes... even just trying to figure out what I'm thinking or feeling. But that's the amazing thing about God - He's constant, not dependent on our feelings, or ebbing obsession, or tangled emotions. His promises are still true even when Satan is working to turn our hearts to darkness. When we fail (and we will fail), the cross is still sufficient, still keeping the way open to cry to Him, our Abba.

    Be encouraged, sister in Christ! I love those verses you shared... it is the Lord alone who upholds us.

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  5. thank you for sharing this Bailey!

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  6. Amen!

    Read the book of Esther for encouragement. What a great story of hope and courage in a dark, silent time!

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  7. It's amazing to me how God works. How He's been teaching you some of the same things that He taught me when I first found Him as my Love, and how I know now that they are things I must know every day, not just once. And how this was just the reminder I needed. My favorite Psalms in a time like this are Psalm 63, 43, and Psalm 73:23-26. Oh, and then the promises! The promises of His Spirit and power! I was just blown away the other day when I read in Ephesians 1 about the power that He gives us to work in us and change us. It's the same power that He used to raise Jesus from the dead! Isn't that incredible?!(And in the same section Paul talks about God giving us the Spirit so we may know Him better! Ah, hope!) And then in 1 Corinthians 1 :5-9 he says that we do not lack anything, that He will keep us firm to the end, and reminds that God is faithful. Faithful. Keep pressing in Bailey! If we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. And that's a promise-Jer.29:13!

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  8. I'll be praying for you, Bailey! The dark times always follow the bright times, but the Lord is always faithful even when we can't feel Him near. I read a verse in Psalms the other day; I can't find it now, but it basically said "I will praise the Lord, who performs all things on my behalf." He is working on your behalf and on mine.

    Come to my blog sometime in the next few days and read the quote that I posted there ... it is really helping me through the things I'm going through, too. Keep hanging on, Bailey, and we'll all be praying for you! :-)

    Love in Christ,
    Vicki

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  9. this doesn't have anything to do with the post but LOVE THE NEW DESIGN!

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  10. Oh, Bailey. *hugs*

    I literally pulled up your email and your blog post at the same time, and read them back to back.

    I'm so sorry for what you are going through right now. I'm praying for you...that's all I can do, I suppose.

    Love you soooo much, girl. *SQUIIISSSHH*

    xoxo
    Alexxus

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  11. Thank you, everyone, for your sweet words and prayers! This happened like three weeks ago, so this post was more of a reflection on how God DID come through for me. God is so good. :)

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  12. I've been off the Internet for a while and this is the first post of yours that I've read in a long time. Thank you so much, Bailey! It's really amazing how we can be going through such similar stuff. I'm still going through the hard time, but blessing Christ for holding on to you and bringing you through your valley.

    I'm finding that it's really hard to still believe that Christ saves and hold on when you don't feel "spiritual" or you feel weighed down by your sin, but that it is so comforting to know that it is here, in the hard-to-believe place where we feel the most low, that we can trust that God loves us passionately and longs for us earnestly. The Cross becomes more precious than ever and prayer becomes a necessity.

    Thank you for sharing and lifting me up.

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  13. Hey there, I don't know if you'd be willing or interested, but I'd like to republish this post on ylcf.org. I would link back to your blog and credit you with a bio.

    Please email me at alaskawildrose @ gmail.com if you are willing. :)

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Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)