“You are not where you once were. You are not where you’re going to be. You are in a confusing zone. Welcome to The Land Between.”
What is “The Land Between? It is that place between Egypt (the land of slavery) and Israel (the land of promise). Notice in Exodus 3, there is mention of the “land between.” There is only the promise of being taken from Egypt, to the Promised Land.
For us, “the land between” could be discouragement, depression, graduation after college, a mother with a daughter who has grown up…
It’s often easy for us to place ourselves above these characters and say, “these people are idiots, I would never act like that.”
Note this: They’re not complaining about their condition. They’re complaining against God.
1. The “land between” is fertile ground for complaint; and for complete meltdown.
So, question, “How is God going to meet His servant, Moses?”
Question, “Whose voice do you hear there in addition to Moses?” I hear the voice of parents, teachers, leaders, …, etc. “I can’t carry this any more. … If you love me, kill me now, I pray.” Anyone who has ever served in any leadership capacity of any kind for any time understands this emotion. Whose other voice? I hear mine.
I was prepared for days of disappointment. I don’t think I was prepared for years of disappointment. I don’t think I was prepared for years of being a disappointment.
2. The land between is fertile ground for provision.
Regarding the Elijah story, “I’m expecting a lecture and God makes him lunch.” For the Israelites, he provides Manna & Quail. And with “meat still in their teeth” they still essentially communicate to God, “We are better off without you.”
3. The land between is fertile ground for God’s discipline.
Discipline is inflicting pain for redemptive purposes. And we are naïve to believe we are immune to God’s corrective hand.
4. The land between is fertile ground for transformational growth.
The desert was intended to transform them from the people of slavery to the people of God. I need you to learn to trust me, here, in the land between. In the space of the wilderness that we learn to pray, we learn to depend.
In America, we have phrase, “time heals all wounds.” This is not true. We have people here in which time makes them bitter, angry and acidic. But, the land between is also the place where faith goes to die, and we choose.
Complaint arrives as an uninvited guest. Complaint resists eviction. Trust evicts complaint; they are simply incompatible roommates.
That space in your life that you most resent is the very space that God wants to produce a crop that He so desires. The very space we hate, is the very soil that God does the richest and deepest work.
May God bless you in the land between. May you guard your heart. May trust grow. May our gracious God know what you need, and provide what you need. May He restore your laughter, increase your joy. May you find Him present and good, in the land between.
— VIA —
Absolutely fantastic. As mentioned earlier, our church is in a difficult time right now. Several months ago, after seeing Manion’s title for this session, I went to Numbers 11, began reading, and thinking about this message for our congregation. My lament is that they may never hear this message in this season.
Regardless, this is one of those “keepers,” in that the message is timely and timeless for all of us on this spiritual journey. Well delivered, and well crafted, this was a fantastic session for the summit.
PROCESSING EXERCISE: THE LAND BETWEEN
In Numbers, chapter 11, Moses pours out his heart to God. His words sound more like a frustrated rant than a prayer. Are you passing through a season of severe difficulty? Have you voiced your confusion and disappointment to God? His shoulders are broad enough to bear whatever it is you have to say. Write out exactly what you are experiencing. Then read your thoughts back to God as a prayer.
Hope for the future is anchored in God’s faithfulness in the past. If we think about it, we often can identify specific occasions when God has supplied exactly what was needed at exactly the right time. Take a few minutes and write down five examples of how the Father has provided for you in the past.
The desert is fertile soil for complaint. Is it possible your journey through the wilderness has resulted in a resentful or embittered spirit toward God? If so, perhaps you sense God’s corrective hand of discipline in your life. In the book of Proverbs, we read:
My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD
Or loathe His reproof,
For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights – Proverbs 3:11-12
If you are experiencing God’s loving hand of discipline, know that He desires this correction to return your heart to Him. Take some time to write out a confession and to renew your commitment to God.
When you are passing through a season of prolonged waiting, confusion, or pain, more than anything, your Father wants to be trusted. Perhaps the most powerful prayer you can offer are the three words, “I trust you.” Could it be that not only is this the prayer God most desires to hear, but the prayer that your heart most desperately desires to pray? Take some time to meditate on and pray these words: “I trust you.” Then, record any whispers you may have from God during your prayer.
The wilderness is also fertile ground for transformational growth. Nothing goes wasted. Jesus desires to redeem all things. Ask God to use this troubling season to forge something that is good, and beautiful, and lasting.