In The Meantime

What do you do when there’s nothing that you can do? What do you when you find yourself in a set of circumstances and there’s no way to change it? Problems where there are seemingly no solutions. Questions, but no answers. At some point in your life, and for many of us more than one time during our lives, we are going to find ourselves in a set of circumstances, or in a season of life, when it is what it is, and it looks like there’s no way to change the situation.

These situations come in all shapes and sizes. For many of us they are relational. You’ll find yourself in a marriage that’s not going well. Neither of you want to get divorced, but neither of you want to change either. So looking into the future, it’s just the way it is.

For some of you it’s with your kids. They have their own options, so they didn’t want to grow up and be what you thought they should be. You kept telling them in the ninth grade, “These grades count, these grades count.” And about halfway through their senior year they said, “Oh yeah, these grades count,” and now it’s too late. They’ve chosen friends that you see aren’t good for them, they got engaged and then married to one you’ve wondered about, and it’s just what it’s going to be. You’ve got relatives you didn’t choose, and an extended family that you’re stuck with, and it is what it is, right?

For some of you, the problem is financial. It seems that no matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you work, it’s just one thing after another that comes up and you can’t get ahead.

Some problems are professionally. Somebody said you did something that you aren’t so sure you did, and now you’ve gotten bumped out of an entire industry that you can’t go back to. It’s permanent and there’s no solution. There’s no in a few minutes, if I wait a few days, if I wait a few years. This is it.

For some of you it’s a health issue. You’re not going to die of whatever it is they said you have, but it’s debilitating, chronic and it’s going to go on and on. They can treat it, but they can’t cure it. This is your new reality. This is your new normal.

I don’t know specifically what all of your situations are, but during this series, we’re calling those places “In the meantime.” Places where you are stuck, so in the meantime, this is just the way it is. We’re not looking for a solution because in all reality, there’s likely not a solution. And there are some options, but the options are not good. In fact, they’ll only make things worse than they already are.

So what are you going to do? You can run. Although you don’t want to run. You can abandon your family or give up on your kids, but I know you really don’t want to that. You can quit, but you don’t want to do that either. You can drink yourself into oblivion, but you know that’s only temporary and just creates more problems. And then, there’s the whole internal battle that we all have in circumstances like this.

We get jealous of other people, when we look at their wrinkle-free life and we think that was the life I was supposed to have. Someone said to me recently, “I feel like I’m living somebody else’s life. When I looked into my future, it was all planned out. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, but where I am now, I feel like this is somebody else’s life. And there’s no way to recapture what I had hoped my life would be. This is the new normal. This is the current reality. There’s no going back.”

It’s easy to get resentful. It’s easy to get angry. And it’s really, really easy to compare.

All of us have a picture of a preferred future. All of us have a picture of what family’s supposed to be, what romance is supposed to be, what being financially stable is supposed to be. And when you find your circumstances are just not going to be that way, what do you do when there’s nothing you can do?

In these seasons of life, we draw some really bad conclusions and believe some really ugly lies to the point that we tell ourselves these lies are true. Like, I’ll never be happy again.

You look back on a season of your life when you were truly happy. Like in high school, when your parents paid for everything and you did everything. It was the perfect world. You had no bills and all the freedom in the world. Or that first year of marriage, or those first few years of dating and romance when you’d found the person of your dreams and you were so happy. Now you look at your life and you think, I will never be happy again. And you start believing that lie.

We tell this lie too. Nothing good can come from this. The situation is so dark and you are so far down, that there’s just no end in sight, so how in the world could something good come from this?

And for some of you, maybe you’re at that point of ultimate desperation where you think there’s really not any point in continuing. There’s no point in battling through this relationship or situation. You don’t even see any point in living.

So for the next few weeks, we’re going to dive into this “happy” topic, where in the meantime, what do we do when really there’s absolutely nothing you can do?

Uniquely Qualified

Discovering a purpose for pain in 2 Corinthians. God comforts us so that we may comfort others. Our capacity to comfort other people is determined by the degree to which we’ve suffered.

A Purpose and a Promise

If you are in an in-the-meantime season of life, would you be willing to consider receiving it as a gift with a purpose and a promise? The purpose may not yet have been revealed, but the promise is right now, “God’s grace is sufficient for you.” His power will be made perfect in your weakness.

Why Is God Silent?

God is not absent, apathetic, or angry with you. If you are in an “In the Meantime” set of circumstances right now, you are not alone, and you are not the first.