“How long, O Lord? . . . How long . . . ?  How long . . . ?  How long . . . ?”  Psalm 13:1-2

There is an in-between-ness to this life.  God gives us great promises in the gospel.  Then he calls us to wait for their fulfillment.  He doesn’t give us everything right away.  He calls us to wait.

In between the giving and the fulfilling of God’s promises, the waiting can be hard.  Sometimes it can seem impossible to endure, because what we’re stuck in for now doesn’t just fall short of God’s great promises.  Our experience can be the opposite of God’s great promises.  Living in-between is not easy.

But God’s greatest gift is not always what we think.  God’s greatest gift is himself.  And he does give himself right now.  His own reality and presence and nearness and immediacy and smile: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18), “The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

That is not a consolation prize, not something we have to settle for.  There is nothing greater in all this world.  We don’t understand how God draws near and we can’t control him.  But this is real, very real, very wonderful.

As we stumble forward, God’s real presence gives us strength to wait without self-pity but with resilient good cheer.

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5 thoughts on “In between”

  1. Flyaway says:

    Lovely! As long as we are here on Earth God isn’t finished with us yet. We can trust that He who started a good work in us will complete it and we can rest in that. It does seem like time drags on but it isn’t long in the light of eternity.

  2. doyle moore says:

    deeply apppreciated your message at Liberate this past Friday!

  3. Eric says:

    Creation is progressive… Revelation is progressive… Salvation is progressive… and yet we still need posts like this to remind us that “He calls us to wait”.

  4. John Tice says:

    Thank you! Very fitting for our circumstance.

  5. Karen Butler says:

    thank you for this cup of cold water to a thirsty pilgrim

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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