[The Land Between - chapters 14 & 15]
I played many sports as a kid. Eventually, as I got older, I narrowed my focus down to one sport: golf. Golf is all about repetition. Going to the range and hitting hundreds of golf balls, trying to repeat the same swing over and over and over again. Spending hours on the putting green, working to replicate the same exact stroke over and over and over again. All this repetition was for one reason: so that when you were on the course and the pressure was on, you could simply “trust your swing.”
When I think of incremental growth, I think of the hours and hours of tedious and boring practice sessions. Trying to train my muscles to do the exact same thing every single time. When you’re doing it, you don’t feel like it is doing anything. You feel like it doesn’t matter. You feel like you are sometimes just going thru the motions. The reward doesn’t come until your out on the course, and playing in a tournament where the pressure is on.
When the pressure is on and you feel the heat of the situation, I was able to trust my swing, and it came thru for me. MY mind was able to simply say, “Just trust your swing.” When that happened, I was able to perform under the pressure.
Incremental growth in our faith is similar. Sometimes we find ourselves reading scripture, praying, going to church, participating in a small group, etc., and we feel “Tedious and bored.” What we don’t necessarily see is that those moments of incremental growth are preparing us for life-changing and transformational situations. They are preparing us to face and deal with the heat, pain, and suffering of life. Those times in our lives that seem to produce “transformational growth.”
What season are you going thru? What kind of growth are you experiencing right now? Do you feel like you are in a season where you feel like you are just trying to get into a rhythm of repetition of spiritual practices? Are you going thru a time of trial and testing, putting your faith to the test? Or are you stagnant? Nothing is happening at all? God is concerned with our growth. We are either growing towards him, or moving away from him.
We wrapped up our discussion of the book, and here are some of the overall “take away” thoughts from the book:
- The “Land Between” is better spent trying to learn, rather than complain. Focusing our energy on learning what God is teaching us, rather than trying to figure out why we are in the “land between”.
- No matter where we are (Egypt, Land Between, Promised Land), we have a choice in how we will respond to the situation around us. And the choice we make reflects the level of trust we put in God.
- We can cry out to God no matter what our thoughts and feelings
- Trust. Trust. Trust. Will I continue to trust him?
- There is lots of unknowns in the Land Between, and not sure if there is resolution. But we need to expect that God is doing something, no matter you find yourself. God is tirelessly working no matter where we find ourselves, and if we find ourselves in situations that we created for ourselves, or were forced upon us from the outside.
- Looking at the concept/idea of God’s Presence, and allowing it to be enough.
- The book frames pain and suffering and how to find hope in that
- We don’t necessarily know what the “Promised Land” is, and that’s okay. We are learning to live for TODAY and what God is calling us to TODAY.
- So often we want to “figure out” God, but trying to figure out or understand God can become a barrier to worship or trust him.
- We can’t have hope unless we have faith.