Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Space In Between

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  Matthew 16:18

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  Luke 22:61

The eyes of Christ burn with a holy knowledge of exactly who we were created to be as He speaks life over us, into us, through us. His declaration of who we are is a statement of the most complete, truest things about us. The Omnipotent speaks the known to the unknown; the Creator decrees purpose to the creation; the Lover proclaims promise to the beloved.

We are known. We are purposed. We are promised.

And, like Peter, we stand in the space between soaring promise and crashing reality. We wonder if we can ever really be who He said we truly are.

On that early day of proclamation how Peter’s heart must have quaked in the physical presence of such power and authority, such love and intimate knowing of himself. How loved he must have felt. How inspired, how determined to rise to those great words.

And how must his heart have suffered a thousand deaths as he stood later in the place of betrayal while the eyes of Promise and Purpose looked upon him straight again, again knowing. Knowing his failure. Knowing his weakness. Knowing his inability to be who he was created to be. Peter surely knew the deepest kind of agony in his soul that evening.

The space between the promise of who we are meant to be and the reality of who we are right now in this moment is an impossible chasm. It stretches beyond our sight in its limitless distance, shrouded in fog and beset with traps. 

The other side, the goal, the promise, sometimes appears brilliantly through the clouds like a towering mountaintop, only to elude us again when the thunder of life claps us to the ground of our weakness and inconsistency.

Lent reminds me of The Space in Between. 

The space between who I am and who I want to be. The space in between the vision I cherish for my family and the reality of our struggles here and now in today’s real world. The space in between heaven and the red clay dirt of this earth.

This space is frustrating and doesn’t often feel glorious. It requires hard work and determination, tenacity and discipline.

This space makes me tired.

Peter was ignorantly blissful, for a time. He seems to have taken Jesus’ promise words with confidence at the start. He believed it, and he knew he was important. He believed so much in his own ability to be great that he declared he would never, ever, deny Christ. 

But in the end, Peter learned what we know.

We live in the Space in Between. We live and move and serve and drive carpools and work at desks and wash dishes and eat the wrong stuff and say things we wish we hadn’t right there in the space in between who we want to be, who Jesus says we were made to be, the Truest Things About Us, and who we are right now.

Peter became painfully, acutely aware of the Space in Between in that fateful millisecond when he breathed the bitter space between himself the betrayer and the Lord our Redeemer.  

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  (Luke 22:61)

Jesus looked straight through the Space in Between and crossed the distance instantly. 

Immediately the chasm was bridged, the impossible was made possible. Because in that moment Peter remembered. He remembered that the One who made him knew him.

He knew him and yet He still promised.

And He keeps every promise.

Peter’s real journey began then. He began the impossible journey across the Space in Between, the journey only made possible by the One who Promised.

And Peter became what he was created to be. Jesus built His church, the church you enjoy this Lent season, upon the one who failed, the one who betrayed the Lord. And the One who Promised guarded His promise, and fulfilled it.

He will do this for you, and for me. He will help us live in the Space In Between, and He will build in our lives what He has purposed, even though we fail him and we betray him. 

Later in his first epistle, Peter is much more mature. Here we see the Peter who has crossed the chasm, and stands on the other side beckoning others over. 

He greets us with these significant words, “To God’s elect… who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ…” (from 1:1-2) 

Those words were engraved in Peter’s heart with painful experience. No longer do we hear the proud voice of the old, pre-chasm Peter. 

Peter learned what we all must: God knows us and yet He still promises, purposes. 

And it will be accomplished through God's Spirit, not our strength.

In the meantime, we are made small by the absurdities of daily weakness and irritations in the here and now of who we are. Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “The great discrepancy between what we envisioned and what we’ve got forces us to be real” (Keep a Quiet Heart, 228). 

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, AMP)

This Lent season, I want to learn to better live in the Space in Between. I want to meet Christ here. I long desperately for the rest that comes from letting go of my own attempts to be all that and just let His Spirit work through me. Won’t you join me?

What has strengthened you in this space? Someone else needs to hear your story.

You are known and loved,

We live in the space in between who God says we were made to be and who we are right now. (Click to Tweet)

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