Between the promise, the journey and the promised land which God promised his children, there was “the land in between”. This is that place where majority of believers get discouraged.
Have you ever experienced a delay between the promise you received from God, or a prophecy made upon your life and the actual manifestation? That period can be quite a challenging time as your faith is pushed to the limit.
I ended 2013 with a lot of faith and gusto. I was so charged, in fact turbo charged to get into 2014 because of the prophecies and prayers I had received upon my life at the end of 2013.
What then happened?
I started 2014 with a few challenges.
- I had a blood splash into my eyes during one of my night shifts working in the Emergency Room which required me to take Anti-Retroviral Drugs for a period of time.
- The first day of January 2014 was the last day of my work as I started the 2nd of January 2014 as an unemployed man.
- My marriage was under attack spiritually.
As I sat at home the 2nd of January reflecting on my life, I felt I would get a job in no time. I attended so many interviews and drove almost 6 thousand kilometres to attend job interviews.
The search for a job turned into days and days into weeks and weeks into months. For 6 months, I was unemployed with a family of two kids, I had the mortgage to pay, school fees to pay, electricity and water bills to pay.
During the period of my unemployment I doubted God on many occasions. I made statements like “Lord, you promised me this, you spoke this word to me, why am I in this situation? Why me?”
The Israelites suffered the same frustrations too while going from Egypt (The land of Slavery) to Canaan (the promised land).
- They complained about “free fish and meat” they used to get while in bondage
- Their love for God grew weary
- Their perception of God was distorted by their challenges
- They lost focus regarding the bigger picture
- They totally lost the plot
- They were ready to settle for instant gratification than the promised land
- They were short sighted
- But in that desert land God provided Manna for them.
Elijah’s in the book of Kings shared a similar experience in the wilderness. He experienced great discouragement and threat over his life which required him to flee to the wilderness.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah was so depressed that he even prayed to die.
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ”It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"
This was a man who prayed that it would not rain for 3 and a half years and yet he was praying to die. Thankfully, this was a prayer not answered for Elijah. In fact, Elijah was one of the few men in the Bible to never die!
I can imagine that as he was caught up into heaven, he smiled and thought of this prayer - Sometimes, to receive a NO answer from God can be better than receiving a yes answer.
While in the wilderness...
- God catered to his physical needs.
“The spirit needs to be fed, and the body needs feeding also. Do not forget these matters; it may seem to some people that I ought not to mention such small things as food and rest, but these may be the very first elements in really helping a poor depressed servant of God.” (Spurgeon)
- God allowed Elijah to vent his frustrations.
1 Kings 19:9–10. And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
- God revealed himself to Elijah.
1 Kings 19:11–12. Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
Here are a few lessons I learned:
- Trusting God is key to surviving the "land in between"
Prov. 3:5&6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
- I should store up deposits of God’s word in me because there will be “wilderness” times where I may not even be able to read God’s word for my self – hence the stored up deposits will be there for me.
Ps 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
- God has my best interest in mind
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, Says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
- Real Faith in God involves believing at the expense of the current reality. What God has promised He will do.
Matthew 14:30-31 “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
- I learned that we all go through numerous seasons of our lives – but that’s what it is, a season.
2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
God is desirous of creating a testimony in our lives based on the situations he permits us to go through.
Jeff Manion in his message the on the above topic said that “The Land Between is fertile for Emotional Breakdown, Meltdown & Complaints. However the land between is also fertile for God’s provision, God’s discipline and Transformational growth”.