Every day, it feels like more violent atrocities fill our news feeds. Whether it’s gun violence, racism, sexual assault, or hard-to-spot domestic crimes, the weight of the curse sits heavy on our hearts. Amidst everything “out there” we also struggle with quiet sadness inside our homes. Infertile couples, pray another month for a baby. Families walk through abuse, wayward children, and multiple miscarriages. Parents of little ones grapple with difficult diagnoses. Parents of proud teenagers manage rebellion at every turn. College students struggle through questions of identity and sexual temptation. Satan sours everything he can while Christ’s followers wait in the in-between.
We’re not the only ones who feel the weight of the curse as God’s in-between people. A read through the book of Exodus usually sweeps us onto the front lines beside Moses, watching how God powerfully delivers his people, despite their sin. From that view, we comprehend some of the atrocities. But a deeper look at the story of the Exodus has us asking, “What about everyone else? What about the Israelites who were painfully oppressed for hundreds of years, unable to receive enough food, water, medical care, and rest for their families in slavery? Baby Moses was drawn out of the water, but what about the other moms whose babies were ripped from their arms and thrown into the river? What about the women who were likely abused and assaulted at the hands of Egyptian men while they waited for deliverance?” It’s clear that life has always been hard for in-between people.
While the Israelites lived in-between the garden and the coming Messiah, we live in-between the resurrection and return of Christ. We wonder about and lament over many of the same things that God’s Old Testament people did, and we face many of the same challenges as the early church.
Knowing we’re not alone in the way that we mourn the curse, how do we take heart in the in-between?
We Look Back and Remember
As we live here, between the crushing blow dealt at the cross and the final victory at Christ’s return, we remember God’s promises and recount the many ways he has already fulfilled them. God displayed grace to Adam and Eve as he provided a way for the serpent to be crushed and their relationship reconciled. God demonstrated trustworthiness as he brought Noah’s family safely through the flood. God abounded in faithfulness as he multiplied Abraham’s descendants, giving them the promised land. God delivered his people out of slavery in Egypt. God provided for the building of his temple, and gave his people the prophets as they waited for the Messiah. He sent his own son to earth so his justice and mercy could be reconciled as Christ atoned for the sins of his people. He gave his people the Holy Spirit, spreading the church across the nations through the ages, preserving his holy word and the message of the gospel.
And in our personal lives, he’s sustained us spiritually and provided comfort for our weary souls. He’s grown us in godliness and used our lives for his glory as he works in the world. He’s given us good and undeserved gifts while we still sin against him and try to find comfort in material things and relationships.
God has a perfect track record of caring for his in-between people and carrying them to the finish line. He will be faithful to us too, even when it’s hard for us to comprehend his ways.
We Look Ahead and Hope
Because we know God’s track record is perfect, we can hold onto his promises and look forward to what’s coming. It was finished, and it will be finished. Jesus will return and the Just Judge will pour out wrath on sin. Satan will never rule over or harm God’s people again.
Every baby thrown into the Nile and murdered in the womb. Every child shot in a church building. Every person harassed or harmed for the color of their skin. Every victim of assault and abuse. Every martyr for their faith in Christ and every perseverant pastor who quietly endured the persecution of an ungrateful body. All of the plight, big and small, of God’s in-between people will be avenged.
For the hope set before him, Jesus endured the cross, and for the hope set before us, God’s in-between people endure the curse. Rest assured, if you are living with hope and faith in the unseen reality that you will stand before the throne, dressed in Christ’s righteousness alone, you will see the story resolved. And it will produce worship beyond anything you’ve experienced in the in-between.
So weary saints – those trudging along with heavy hearts because of the violence in the world, sinners in the church, or fallenness in the home, take heart. Jesus has overcome the world. All will be made right. Remember the faithful way God provided for his people in the past, and look ahead with hope at the way he will undoubtedly provide in the future (even if, like the Israelite slaves, we don’t see those provisions in this life). He will come, we will rise, we will be out of the in-between, and forever, we will worship.