So I’m at the airport waiting for our flight to start boarding, watching the diversity, energy, order and chaos that is JFK International Airport. There is a pigeon walking around on the carpet in front of me. Inside. None of us are paying him any attention. I can hear phones, tvs, conversations in multiple languages, and announcements from every direction. People are running, walking, standing, sitting.
They are in the in between. They are either headed to a destination or arriving from a destination. Or they are trying to make a connection. That’s the in between the in between. However you look at it, airports are the in between.
Life has a lot of in betweens. Not only is life full of in betweens, life is THE in between. This life and the next. Mark talked about it a few weeks ago. Makes a lot of sense for all of the discontent and emptiness. I mean if we are looking in the world, there is temporary happiness here and there, but like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, its all a chasing after the wind. Essentially not only are we in the BIG in between as far as eternity goes, but on a daily basis we are in the in between as we wait for what God next has for us. The longer I live, the more I realize that life is a big wait. We wait for everything. Then it comes and we wait for the next thing.
The big question for the in between is are we waiting for the next thing with an unhealthy expectation that borders on worship? Is that next thing we are waiting for (for us, a child) our idol? Have we placed greater value and greater emphasis on that next thing than God Himself? It may be a phase of life: a birthday, a driver’s license, college, a job, an engagement, a wedding, a house, a child, a trip, a major purchase. Side note:all of these things are good, not bad things. As long as they don’t turn into the object of our worship, right?
I’ve realized two things as I’ve gotten older. Number one: no matter what it is that I am waiting for it will satisfy me temporarily but I will once again find that familiar feeling of emptiness or dissatisfaction. That idol, that god, has disappointed. It has ended. The original happiness has lessened, faded, all together disappeared. Number two: the longer I have to wait in the in between the more I see the wicked condition of my own heart. I see a lack of faith, a lack of patience, a lack of trust. I see just how much I resemble a toddler and just how much growing up I still have to do. You’d think I’d feel hopeless in the in between.
The truth is, I feel fantastic. Just like I am comfortably waiting in this airport with the confidence that I will eventually get home, the longer God has me in these in betweens of life, the more I am finding comfort and satisfaction. Right here. Not back there. Not ahead up there. Right here.
Because you know who is here? You know who is good? You know who is more than enough?
He’s enough that I could stake a claim to this in between acreage, set up shop, and praise Him for the rest of my temporary in between until He calls me home to permanent peace, joy, satisfaction and contentment.
Thoughts from an NYC airport.
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13