Several years ago, my family took a trip to London, England. We stayed in a unique hotel located in a restored historical building. As we headed out one morning, excited for another day of sightseeing, we got on the elevator and pushed the “down” button. But when the elevator descended, this normal morning changed abruptly. It suddenly felt like we had stepped on the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyland. We were jolted up and down multiple times—ascending several levels, then falling several levels to sudden stops. And, just when we thought our ride was over, the rising, falling, and jolting started again.
After several moments, it finally stopped for good, and we found ourselves trapped inside the elevator for a lengthy period of time before being rescued. We did the best we could to pass the long, hot, suffocating moments in such a small space until my brothers decided to pry the doors open to see where we were. “Maybe the elevator stopped at a floor where we can exit,” we thought. But, the doors opened to reveal just the opposite: a concrete wall. We were between floors.
Sometimes, we can feel that our lives are like that elevator: stuck—suspended between floors, surrounded by concrete, with no hope in sight.
In Between Times
We spend our days between a lot of things: between errands, between appointments, between classes, between here and there, coming and going. And throughout our lives, we find ourselves in more serious gaps: between relationships, jobs, ministry assignments, and answered prayers. Yet, no matter what “in-between” stage we’re in—whether it lasts five minutes or five years—it’s easy to become discouraged about the past or stressed about what the future holds.
Life is a series of “in between” moments. If we’re always living for the next great thing or big moment, we’ll miss what God wants for us right now.
Mind the Gap
There is a phrase used in the London underground as a warning to passengers to practice caution while crossing the gap between the train and the station platform. The phrase is, “Mind the Gap.” It is repeated on the intercom and written on the ground—a continual reminder to pay attention!
In the busyness of our daily lives—as we jump from one thing to another—perhaps even pushed and shoved by others trying to get to their destinations—God calls us to pay attention. He cautions us to purposefully acknowledge His guidance in our steps, even when those steps cause us to pass through “gaps.”
The ancient Greek language had two words for time: chronos and kairos. These two words of time differentiated “normal, measurable time” (chronos) and “special time” (kairos). Chronos deals with quantity, and kairos deals with quality. Chronos emphasizes order, while kairos emphasizes readiness. Kairos means “the right, opportune, or supreme moment.” It is not an idle moment, but it is not an active moment, either. It is an in-between, undetermined period of time in which something special happens. And when God was at work in the New Testament, the Greek word used to describe that time was…Kairos.
God measures time in kairos. He operates in the immeasurable, in-between moments. When we acknowledge His presence in these unique spans of time, instead of feeling suspended, out of control, or trapped—we find purpose, significance, and hope. Why? He is with us.
Sacred, Not Wasted
Sometimes, we get so intent on leaving our “gap” (“God, I want out of this elevator ASAP, please!”) that we fail to recognize its importance. We default to our chronos mindset and look for the fastest way out. What should we do then to ensure that these times aren’t wasted?
When we choose to acknowledge God, “now” can become more than a holding pattern or a painful pause. “Now” can be a time of spiritual growth and maturity. Don’t rush through these times. Embrace them. They are sacred. Psalm 37 provides insight on how to seize these sacred moments.
1. Commit to spiritual growth—trust God. If you’re in a holding pattern, trust that God has a purpose and determine to grow as a result (Psalm 37:3).
2. Remember what is truly important—worship God. Instead of looking for a way out, look to God. Dwell with Him. Focus on Him. Delight in Him (Psalm 37:4).
3. Realize that timing is everything—wait on God. Don’t push your way through the gap! Wait on God with patience and anticipation (Psalm 37:7).
4. Advance God’s eternal purposes—serve God. Allow the pause in your plans to increase your fervor to serve God in perhaps unexpected capacities (Psalm 37:27).
5. Remember God’s blessings—thank Him (Psalm 37:25-26).
The Lord won’t forsake you! Dwell on His promises, and thank Him for His provision. So, mind the gap! Don’t rush through God-ordained pauses. Embrace the opportunity for spiritual growth. And, thank Him for the privilege of time spent in the “in between” moments in life.