Friday, September 10, 2010

The Land Between

A few weeks ago I was able to attend a Leadership Conference.  There were many great speakers, and I want to take a moment and share with you some thoughts from one of the sessions.  The speaker was pastor Jeff Manion, and his session was called "The Land Between."  If you want to hear or see him speaking on this topic, click here.  Or click on the picture to the right to check out his book (which I haven't read).

The Scripture text is
Numbers 11.  The setting - the Israelites have just been rescued from Egypt's army by God, who in miraculous and dramatic fashion parts the Red Sea allowing Israel to pass through on dry ground.  God rescues them from certain death and brings them into the desert.  They are no longer in Egypt, but they have a journey in front of them before they reach the Promised Land.  They are in "the land between."

All of us have been, are currently, or will be in this land.  It's a place where some of us have been often.  Our church is in this land, as we are "in between" senior pastors.  Many men in our church are in this land, "in between" jobs.  In his talk, Pastor Jeff makes 5 points about this land that need little explanation.
  1. The land between is fertile ground for complaint. (vv 1-10)
  2. The land between is fertile ground for meltdown. (vv 11-15)
  3. The land between is fertile ground for God’s provision. (vv 16-17)
  4. The land between is fertile ground for God’s discipline - inflicting pain for redemptive purposes (vv 18-20).
  5. The land between is fertile ground for transformational growth – for learning to trust God.  (vv 21-35)

As I read those 5 points again, I know that I've done all 5.  I've complained, and melted down more often then I'd like to admit.  However, his last point might be the most important thing to remember if you're in the land.  The Israelites were coming out of generations of idol worship and living in the land of the Egyptians. God knew that if they were going to be "His people," then they had to learn to trust in Him.  So it is for us.  If we are truly to be God's people, His sons and daughters, then we must learn to trust Him totally, implicitly, without wavering.  It is here; in the "land between" that we learn to pray, rely, and depend on God…this does not happen automatically.  It is also the place where faith goes to die.  We have to choose.  

Something Jeff said in that session - you “deter” complaint by inviting in trust.  “Trust and complaint are incompatible roommates.”  If that's true, I wonder, am I living in trust or complaint?  Am I one of God's sons who has learned to trust?  If you find yourself in "the land between," remember first, you're in good company.  All of us have been there, are there, or will be there (multiple times).  Second, you just may be in a growth spurt of sorts...transformational growth often happens in this land.  And as I write, I have offered up a prayer for all of you who find yourselves in this land.

1 comment:

❤cherelle said...

It's time for me to serve "complaint" with an eviction notice...great post!