spacebetween

The Space Between

For some reason, I’ve been having the worst time trying to get my thoughts out as words on my screen lately. It seems like every time I set aside some time to write, I hit all kinds of walls. Not sure what that’s about, but it’s kind of frustrating. So this morning, I didn’t try to write. Instead, I read.

After a conversation with a friend about life, transition and fear last night, I woke up this morning praying for them and reading the account in Matthew 14 where Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water.

On one hand the story starts in verse 22 when Jesus told the disciples to go get in the boat and go “to the other side.” However, greater context would reveal that this happened immediately after one of Jesus’ greatest miracles, where he fed the multitudes with just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Right after Jesus’ boys witnessed and experienced this amazing display of His power and provision, He told them to go somewhere else. It’s important for me to understand that they didn’t just witness this happen, but I’m sure they got them a fish sandwich, too. Yes they saw, but they also ate.  Part of what He did hit their eyes, part of it hit their belly. Part of it encouraged them, part of it nourished them. Then Jesus said, “go”, while He went somewhere else.

In verse 22 He tells them to go, but by verse 24 we find the disciples in the boat “a long way from the land, beaten by the waves.” Yeah, in the span of 2 verses. Verse 23 tells us that after Jesus dismissed the crowds, He went to pray in the mountains, alone. But what it DOESN’T tell us is the progression from the disciples first stepping in the boat to “a long way from the land.” Next thing we know, it’s all “beaten by the waves!”

With how my mind works and processes context and story, I can’t help but wonder: what happened in the middle?  When did the water first start to get choppy? Did they think, “sho’ do wish we could go back and have another fish sandwich!”? What was their response as the storm escalated? Did they wonder where Jesus was?  Did they think He had left them? Did they feel abandoned?  Sure, they had just seen Jesus, and were sure they would see Him again, but where was He right now… in the middle?

Of course we all know the part of the story where Jesus finally did appear and called for Peter to step out of the boat and come to him, which would mean walking on water. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how Peter was so brave for stepping out of the boat while all those other jokers sat there, and how the boat represents a place of comfort and that Peter was the only one willing to risk his comfort to pursue Jesus in that moment. I think there’s some validity to some of that, but let’s be honest here… there was a freaking storm happening! The boat was ANYTHING but comfortable.

I’m more inclined to see the shore as the place of comfort in this story. Sure, there was a vital lesson in faith and trust learned in the midst of the storm, but I wonder if we miss understanding that Peter could have never walked on stormy waters while still on the shore. The boat brought him to a moment and positioned him to experience a greater level of trust in Jesus. He had no clue what would happen next, only that he heard and saw Jesus.  I have come to understand how God works and shapes our heart in the space between… the space between miracles… the space between shores… the space between life seasons… the space between answers… the space between what you know and where you’ll go.

I have experienced this first hand many times in my life.

In those “space between” moments, I have often been afraid, but I have never been unchanged.

As I have previously observed about transitions, they are often uncertain and exhausting, breathless and exhilarating all at the same time.  I believe the fear that we often fight is actually meant to be fuel for our faith.  The space between may find you reaching and wondering, hoping and grasping, but it will never leave you the same.

What have you learned in the “space between” times in your life?


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Grant JenkinsThe Space Between
13 comments
Stefanie
Stefanie

You really blessed me, I had a fb friend whos status was: if you wanna walk on water you gotta get out of the boat', and right before her post i read yours, and was able to share the insight. pretty cool!!

Daniel C White
Daniel C White

Man, I love the part where you talk about them being not only encouraged but fed too. There's so many times that we just want a drive by blessing and move on, but that can so often leave us malnourished in the end. Thanks for this post my friend.

Anthony
Anthony

Man, great writing. I'm glad that you can put down revelations like this into words. This was the exact verses I was talking with someone about today and your thoughts fit right in with where I am at.

JennyRain
JennyRain

AAAAAA!

I keep reading this same theme. Over. And Over. And OVER again this week. AAAAAAAA!

What Ani said above too... just waiting for you to step into the Pastorate :) Oh wait... you are ALREADY doing that with your writing Grant :)

Love that you are finding your words again... in the middle...cuz it's the middle of the sentence that makes the most difference... not the beginning or the end, but the middle.
My recent post Be the change… today

Ani
Ani

Wow!
And you're still no pastor?
You are surely a Bible-teacher by now, right?
You can put this in words like no one can.
Miss the posts. It reads like a book.

Morgan
Morgan

I will simply have to get back to you on this. I'm very much in that space right now trying to figure it all out. Very frustrated and a little on the lost side. Loved this post though, and I agree with Beth...write a book man...I'd totally stick in on my list. ;-)
My recent post Are You Happy

Beth
Beth

Amazing thought here - "Peter could have never walked on stormy waters while still on the shore. The boat brought him to a moment and positioned him to experience a greater level of trust in Jesus. He had no clue what would happen next, only that he heard and saw Jesus. I have come to understand how God works and shapes our heart in the space between… the space between miracles… the space between shores… the space between life seasons… the space between answers… the space between what you know and where you’ll go." I've just spent over an hour talking to a family member about this very thing- sure wish I had had this illustration to use. (of course I just sent him the link. as I sat here shaking my head at God's once again impeccable timing.) I never thought of it that way- that Peter could have never walked on the stormy waters if he'd still been on the shore.

It is exactly what I was telling this person. That he doesn't have to know all the answers now. That he doesn't have to know the end, or how it's gonna work out, or what might happen next week - he just has to put one foot in the Jordan (one foot outta the boat) and TAKE A STEP. God can't move a parked car, and his meter has long run out but he's still by the curb.

Thanks for this - and I'm still waiting for your first book......
My recent post The Whimsy Journal Project

Kyle Reed
Kyle Reed

Its funny that you wonder about the in-between because I wonder about after the storms are calmed? I wonder what the relief was, the safety they felt and how they got there.
I think life is all about the space between.
We have creation (or your words "the shore") then life itself, then the end, the act 3 climax, the return of Christ which really starts life.

The in-between for me is the right now, 5 years from now, 40 years from now. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I always want more, so I will never reach that satisfaction of "making it" or "finding it"
I think for me I am trying to learn to live in a time where I have a lot of questions but don't always have the answers.

Andie Wright
Andie Wright

I love the line, " the space between what you know and where you’ll go"

I guess the biggest place in my life where this came into play is a tie between moving to Germany right after my High School graduation and when I moved to Nashville after leaving my job in Huntsville. In both situations I was basically on my own with no friends or family around and had to start building a network of friends and advisors from the ground up. Sure, in either situation I could call my parents or write to them, but it isn't like there was anyone around to help me in a pinch. I walked out of Germany so much more aware of my strength and abilities... I mean, I not only survived life in a foreign country with a different language, but I had thrived. I guess my Nashville life is a testament to the same strength, but since I am in the midst of it, it's less apparent to me. I loved the phrase, Faith is what you have when you have nothing else, because it spoke to me so deeply at the beginning of both those situations.
My recent post 30 dates

Whitney
Whitney

Great blog Grant! While part of me feels like I'm on the other side of the space between, I cant help but wonder if I'm always in the space between in some aspect of my life? It reminds me of a song that I always reminds me of his faithfulness:
"One step forth, and I try to get back
A coward's fear on trail with the weakest faith in man
You call me out my comfort, you call me out the boat
To walk on my own alone,
Sometimes I am lost on the open water
Sometimes I am thrown by the wind and the waves
Sometimes I'm swimming in the deep end
Can I stay Afloat
The Ocean is deep below my feet
Afraid of what's to come, so I slowly start to sink
I was waiting for my ending, But then you grab my hand
Just like I knew you would, you would"
~Caleb and Sol Rexius

Wes Howard
Wes Howard

Miracles always happen on the other side of obedience. Peter and the boys obeyed Christ by getting of the shore and into the boat and then Pete obeyed by walking on water. Great word bro.
My recent post Week 1- Diagnosis Single

Scott Couchenour
Scott Couchenour

This couldn't have been times any morenoerfect for me today. Thx for your faithfulness.

Interesting revelation you bring to light: it's a lot harder to walk on water starting from the shore because you can gradually walk out into the deep. But when you're already in the deep in a boat, walking on water by faith becomes the mode of transportation (all because of Christ of course).

kboogie01
kboogie01

Once again! U nailed it...If I didn't know any better..this word was meant 4 me!
My recent post Kboogie01- Nowplaying You Hold My World Israel Houghton WOOOOSH

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    […] I like to think of this in terms of mountain peaks and valleys. It’s as though one exists to usher in and point to the other. A peak is only a made a peak when neighbored by a valley. Likewise, the beauty of a valley is only fully realized when dwarfed by a peak on either side. To fully be what they are, they need each other. Beginnings need endings, they develop trust. Endings need beginnings, they give us hope. Soon you realize that what often looks like the end is really just the space between. The space between peaks. The space between heights. The space between beginnings. […]