One of my small groups is reading The Emotionally Healthy Church. We just finished a chapter on grieving and loss, which the author says has 3 steps:
- Paying attention. Essentially, you have to pay attention to the pain of the loss, both that it hurts and that things will never be the same again.
- Waiting in the Confusing In-Between. The picture I have is that the boat has left the dock and is in the open waters. You’re not yet where you’re going to be, but you’re not where you were either.
- Allowing the Old to Birth the New. The third step is allowing the pain and uncertainty we’ve been through to create something new in you: new character, new compassion, and new authenticity.
We talked about which of the three phases of grief is the most difficult and for me it is definitely the confusing in-between. There is much fear and uncertainty swirling in my life right now. I am on the precipice of graduation, which is good, but it also means a loss. A good friend is ready to move far away to the mission field, which is good for the kingdom of God, but it also means a loss.
This morning, as I thought about the confusing in-between, I realized that such is the Christian life.
When we put our faith in Jesus, we enter the confusing in-between. We are no longer who we were before Christ, yet we’re not who we will be. We only know parts of the story and the rest we take in faith. I know where I’ve been and what I’ve lost, but I don’t know the end of my story.
Today, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is the epitome of the confusing in-between. I know the end of the story, but the disciples didn’t. This was their darkest hour when it seemed all was lost. Everything they expected Jesus to do died before their eyes. I imagine the question, “What now?” plagued their hearts and minds, even as I ask the same question millennia later.
For me, the greatest joy of Easter is seeing the confusing in-between changed into something more beautiful that anyone could have ever imagined. I am filled with hope for the beauty that will unfold in my life as I journey through the confusing in-between.