Storms speckled the radar map between Knoxville, where we sat in the airport, and Houston, where we hoped to safely arrive later that evening.
I watched the radar like a hawk. The control freak in me willing the storms to adjust themselves out of the way of our little plane. I kept watching even as they loaded us onto the plane in plenty of time to make our arrival time.
The flight attendant got on and said, the flight time will be an hour and 52 minutes once we take off. We will shut the doors in 5 minutes.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Surely the storms weren’t that bad. All was well. Until it wasn’t. Only moments later, a new announcement, same voice. As you may have seen, there are a number of storms. Flight control is determining a new route for the plane. And Houston is limiting the number of flights landing right now. We’ll let you know when we can push back. We expect the new route will be longer.
I called Bray. Told him not to bother picking us up – I had no idea when we’d land. I stayed upbeat and fun for little bit since we were on the way home from our mommy and me trip. But inside, my stomach churned and I worried. We’d already had a bumpy landing into Knoxville and we weren’t facing the storms ahead.
Have you ever had a bumpy landing? On a flight? In life? Has your new route ever been longer?
She and I looked at the radar and selected the route we would have drawn out if we were flying the plane. We only have to go up and around them, she announced with a smile. Look!, and her finger traced the route north of Knoxville, into Arkansas, and down to Texas.
We took off one hour later.
The ride was surprisingly smooth. They never did announce what route they selected. Or how long the flight would be. And then, just like that, we started to descend.
We looked out the window and saw this brilliant yellow light. Thin clouds above and storm clouds below. The piercing yellow and white beams lighting up the in between.
My breath caught. It’s like I could hear Him saying, I’m here in the in between. I’m God enough to light up this space between the storms.
And we landed. Wheels touching down 40 minutes after our scheduled arrival. I don’t have any idea how that happened.
But what stayed with me was the image. The reminder. That I serve a God of the in between.
I’ve been in a different kind of storm lately. And to be honest, I haven’t much wanted to find out how God wanted me to handle it or move through it. In fact, my Godly best friend gave me sage advice last week, and I gave her an honest reply. I hear you, and I know that’s probably what God would want me to do, but I’m just not at all interested in doing that right now.
This weekend, I was up a lot in the middle of the night. The baby spiked a huge fever and I was up with cold cloths and Tylenol and his inhaler. Now, right before school is going to start, I questioned in my sleep deprived thoughts.
But my mind went back to this image. The in between.
We sat in the urgent care yesterday. His feverish body curled up and dozing in my arms. Tests turned up nothing. Probably a virus, the doctor advised, and you just have to wait it out. The in between.
Driving to work in the still dark hours this morning, I stewed in my thoughts. On a lark, I changed the radio from NPR to KSBJ, our local Christian music station. Normally, if I’m not voxing friends on my commute, I catch up on the news or podcasts. But it wasn’t what I needed this morning.
A song came on:
I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re going to hear my praises roar,
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!
I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief…
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me (Bethel Music)
The God of the in between.
Tears pricked my eyes as I turned the music up louder and sang as a fight song.
Those in between seasons are tricky. Sifting and uncertain. Maybe there will be bumps or maybe there won’t. Maybe there will be delays or maybe there won’t (although there probably will). Storms waging and breaking. Darkness seeping in and light pushing it back.
Those of us who struggle daily between faith and control wrestle with how to behave in those times. God knows what is going to happen but we still sit, with our little human radar, willing the storms to move a certain direction or trying to telepathically instruct the pilot on the best route to take through them.
The in between. The place between where you left and where you’re going. The place between the storm and the clearing. It’s in that place you can really find God, or you can leave Him.
I decided this morning I was going to find Him. And I would do this week differently than I did last week. And in the between, in the mystery and uncertainty, I’d let God pilot through this storm.
I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!