A few months ago I passed through the tiny community of Between, Ga. With a population of only 148, the place is not much to write home about. (And besides, it doesn't even have its own zip code). The town got its name because it's halfway between Atlanta and Athens, Ga. But as I passed the local convenience store I couldn't help but imagine the strange reactions I'd get if I lived there.
"Where are you from?"
"I live in Between."
"In between what?"
"In Between, Georgia."
"In between Georgia and what?"
"Oh never mind."
I doubt I'll ever move to that town, but the truth is that many of us are living "in between"—because we are in the midst of a major transition. Some of us know where we're going but we feel we're stuck halfway. Or we may sense God is moving us into a new spiritual assignment, yet the process of getting there is inching forward about as fast as a Siberian glacier.
I'm in the midst of my own big changes in career and ministry, and I've been struggling with all the emotions that accompany a major transition. I've battled doubts ("Did God really promise this?"), fears ("What if He doesn't provide?"), confusion ("Last week I was sure; this week I'm not so sure") and impatience ("OK, Lord, I need some answers NOW!").
|"God gives us prophetic promises to literally pull us into our future. Declare them over your life, even when the darkness of discouragement is smothering you."|
But as I navigate this journey, I'm discovering there are some things we can do to make the transition smoother.
1. Make sure you let go of the past. Sometimes we get stuck in spiritual limbo because we're holding on to memories, relationships or what is secure and comfortable. The unbelieving children of Israel wandered in the wilderness of Sinai for 40 years—and never completed their transition—because they were so homesick for Egypt. When Naomi felt called to return to Bethlehem, her daughter-in-law Orpah refused to go. She preferred what was culturally familiar. Leave nostalgia behind and embrace the new season.
2. Renounce your doubts. If we're not careful we can fall into the trap of double-mindedness. We say we want to go to our promised land, but we hesitate—and all such foot—dragging is doubt. We say we want to go forward, but we are like a moving car that has its parking brake engaged. Faith requires you to release the brake.
James warns the double-minded person: "For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:7, NASB). Doubt will stop you from shifting forward.
3. Welcome those God sends to help you. We're not supposed to make transitions on our own. God uses people to push us to the next level. The body of Christ has many members, and those who are gifted as prophets, intercessors, wise counselors and encouragers will always show up when you are in strategic moments of transition.
When Moses was weary of the battle and could barely find the strength to pray, God sent Aaron and Hur to lift up his arms (see Ex. 17:12). When Hezekiah was overwhelmed by the threat of Sennacherib's armies, Isaiah brought a word from the Lord that ignited faith for a miraculous victory (see 2 Kings 19). When Mary was perplexed by the daunting task of carrying the Messiah in her womb, Elizabeth released a prophetic blessing over her (see Luke 1:41-45).
Intercessors who are empowered by the Holy Spirit are like spiritual midwives who help us birth God's promise when we don't have the strength to deliver. Spiritual transition is a painful process, but certain people have an unusual grace from God to travail with us. Allow them to pray for you and speak into your situation.
4. Contend for your promise. Transition is a vulnerable time—and it requires spiritual warfare. The enemy is a thief and he wants to rob us of our inheritance. He does not want us to move forward in God, take new territory, assume new authority or advance into our spiritual callings. Satan is also an abortionist—he wants to devour your promise before it is born.
This is why we must wield God's promise as a weapon against our enemy. Paul wrote: "This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight" (1 Tim. 1:18). God gives us prophetic promises to literally pull us into our future. Declare them over your life, even when the darkness of discouragement is smothering you. God's Word will break satanic resistance.
5. Stay close to the Shepherd. Over the past month four people have given me the same promise from Psalm 32:8: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." It's comforting to know that the good Shepherd takes such special, up-close-and—personal care of us—especially during vulnerable times of transition when we don't know which way to turn.
Be assured that He knows your destination-and He is committed to guiding you, even if you have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death to get there. He will not leave you in the land of Between. With His rod and staff He will usher you into your promised territory.
J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His most recent book is The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale.
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