I was listening to an Bill Hybels’ podcast the other day from this year’s National New Church Conference. Hybels is the pastor of megachurch Willow Creek in Illinois, and he was sharing some thoughts and principles for church planters.
As he shared, he related the concept of “between here and there,” and I had to pull out a pen and paper just to jot down the thought so I could elaborate on it here.
Where you are right now is “here.” That is the point at which God relates with you and invites you into His work. It’s the point at which you know you’ve heard from the Lord. No doubts. He’s called, urged, convicted, or coaxed. You know that and can’t escape from it. The challenge is that God never allows us to stay here. He always directs us to a there. “There” is what God is asking you to do, where He asks you to go, or who He wants you to be. He will provide all the resources, enablement, courage and power to get you from here to there. An old phrase that I use often is “where God guides, He provides.”
However, here’s the rub: you won’t receive God’s intervention here. Yep. You’ve got the be on your way there.
Stinks for you and me, doesn’t it?
What Hybels did such a great job touching on briefly could be elaborated on in numerous instances in scripture. Abraham did not experience all that God planned for him in Ur. He had to leave it. Moses and the people of Israel didn’t experience manna until they were in the wilderness. David wasn’t crowned king until after dealing with Goliath as a shepherd. Peter didn’t become the courageous preacher until after the Holy Spirit came. Paul had written none of what would become the New Testament until after he was sent out as a missionary… The list goes on.
You see, the principle is this: we will encounter God fully somewhere between here and there.
He waits until we’ve said yes and are on the journey before He reveals more of Himself to us, before He provides completely for us, before we see His greatest work. Essentially He says, “Before you get there, I will intervene, and you will discover that I am sufficient.”
So between here and there = a life of trusting obedience. That ambiguous experience between where you are now and where God is calling you to be is what faith is about. You cannot wait to answer God’s call until you have “it” all figured out. Face it. “It” will never add up, never make complete sense, never be controllable. Because God will not allow Himself or His work to be quantifiable, measured and explained away.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55.8-9)
So… if you’ve been waiting on clear and unambiguous direction, I would suggest that it may never come. God may be waiting on you, while you’ve been thinking that you’re waiting on Him.
It will never be seeable from here. You’ve got to be on your way there.
I would highly encourage you to begin your journey.