Growing up, I’ve always loved watching romantic comedies. From my aunt taking me to see The Wedding Planner at the movie theater, to purchasing a dvd of Pretty in Pink when I was in high school and trying to convince myself that I was Andy; one conclusion of this is true, I am a sap when it comes to a good rom-com.
But this post isn’t particularly about what most romantic comedies conclude to be. I want to talk a little bit about the “in between.”
You know how there’s those first 10-25 minutes that introduce you to the character, their current life situation (school, rich, poor, outcast, engaged to the wrong guy, etc.), who their friends are, the dream they’re maybe striving for in the midst of adversity, etc; and then we grow to love them along the way?
I’m convinced that those scenes are underrated.
You and I live in a very microwaveable culture in which most people can want something and can literally get something in the blink of any eye (Discretion: Sometimes not a “blink” of an eye, but quick; you get what I mean). We can order something online and pick it up at a store within a few hours. We can have our food delivered right to our front door if we don’t feel like going out (Pre-Corona). We can even sometimes expect to get abs after one workout (Guilty.) While it has its perks, with these quick “I-need-this-now-lifestyle” habits, it can sometimes become easy to get frustrated when we actually have to wait for something in God’s perfect timing.
Overlooking the “in between” scenes of our own lives, has sometimes set us up for not seeing the sparkle in what’s happening in our today.
Before the plot twist of Corona, like the majority of us, being in that “in between” waiting scene was no stranger to me. I had recently turned 26 years old, and let’s just say, there’s just something different about that “late twenties” number after 25. While I do like my age and I still haven’t fully subscribed to the idea that my age should determine what my life should look like, unlike the last few years in my twenties in which I was at peace with where God had me; insecurity began to creep up about not being “exactly” where I thought I would be in life or situations not working out the way I hoped they would.
With confidence I can still tell you this:
God wastes nothing. He doesn’t allow something to happen without having a purpose behind it. No matter what we experience, there is purpose in our today (Yes, even in Quarantine) and in our “in between scenes”.
In the beginning of the book of Acts, we are able to read about how the apostles had to make a decision on who should replace Judas Iscariot. They listed specific qualities that were consistent with the Bible and then decided to choose between two men.
Acts 1:23 shows how: “they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas and Mathias. Then they all prayed , “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs. Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.” Now, while this moment of promotion is amazing for Matthias you can’t help but wonder how Barsabbas must have felt. He goes from being nominated by the selected men who literally spent the closest amount of time with Jesus and prayed such a bold prayer, to well….not being chosen to do it. No su tiempo. Not fitting the criteria.
What do you do when things don’t work out in the timing or the way you think it should?
This was literally a perfect moment for Barsabbas to question if God had called him in the first place, get offended, or even question himself personally on whether there was something wrong with his heart.
Later, in Acts 15:22 we get a hint of an update on how Barsabbas responded. As the early church manages to bring together diversity among their people and find people to represent them well to Gentile believers:
“Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders- Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas.”
From being bypassed to ambassador, we can see that Barsabbas still chose to believe in the calling God had placed on his life. He chose to still be in leadership with the church and because of that was still seen as a positive representative of Christ to his whole church.
I’m not here to tell you I found all the answers but to encourage you and let you know you are not alone in your feelings. Here are a few things I have found helpful and learned in the waiting:
1) Surrender your Desires to God
“In each season of hiddenness, our sense of value is disrupted. Stripped of what others affirmed in us, we are left staring at our undecorative selves, wondering what makes us truly special. Surely no one experienced the disruption more drastically than Jesus.”- Anonymous, Alicia Britt Chloe
We must look first at where God wants us to be. After all, the only affirmation that truly matters comes from Him. Just like a movie character is developed through those first 10-30 minutes, our in-between scenes allow us to really grow in our relationship with God, get to know Him, get to know our true selves, and know His desires for us. Just like Barsabbas, that creates a foundation that doesn’t waver when the first plot-twist comes around and you get bypassed for the audition, the part, the position, etc. As Jesus tells us in John 15:5, He is the vine and we are the branches; and when we remain in Him we can bear much fruit.
2) Character and Contentment grow in the midst of Adversity Whether you are waiting for the one, waiting for test results, or even for real friends; there is purpose in the waiting scenes and often that purpose will be character building. Going back to John 15:5, Jesus tells us how he is the true vine and God is the gardener. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
When we walk into things that haven’t been, not only does He want those things for us too, but He wants us to look like Jesus too. Maybe God wants to take out any pride you have built up, or maybe you might need to humble yourself and put yourself out there to make those friends. Truly surrendering to God brings growth to our character. Just as much as you may desire a God-given dream he’s placed inside of you, He wants to complete a good work within you.
God is always good and will always be good to you and me, even when we can’t see what he’s doing in our “in between scenes”.