Leaving Limbo

One of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever heard was based on an obscure passage where we’re told that Abraham settled down between Kadesh and Shur” (Genesis 22:1). After reading this verse, the preacher spent nearly an hour describing the challenges and frustrations of living in-between two different places.

Have you ever found yourself in a place like that—stuck in limbo between where you’ve been and where you’re going? Perhaps you were awaiting graduation from college or grad school…a promotion at work…the sale of your home…the diagnosis of a troubling medical condition…or the finalization of a bankruptcy or divorce.

It’s no fun to live in-between. And this is especially true when your limbo experience comes through no fault of your own.

Abraham and Sarah had a long wait for their promised son. They spent years in limbo between the promise and the fulfillment. Their wait wasn’t because of any lack of faith, but simply part of God’s preparation for the blessings ahead.

In contrast, the Israelites’ 40-year delay in reaching the Promised Land was totally preventable. They could have reached their destination in less than 40 days if they had been willing to trust and obey the Lord.

So what can you do if you find yourself stuck in limbo today? Sometimes all you can do is trust the Lord and wait! But in the meantime you should follow God’s instructions the best you can, and keep sowing seeds of love and kindness to the people around you. In “due season” you will reap!  (Galatians 6:9)

It’s not an exaggeration to say that our entire earthly existence is “limbo” in comparison to our future life in eternity. Even if God has blessed us with a great life today, we surely haven’t arrived at our ultimate destination yet.

Hopefully we’ve left our life of sin and rebellion behind, but that doesn’t mean we’re near perfection. Even the great apostle Paul knew he was still on a journey in-between his old life and his heavenly one:

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

No matter how long we live or how mature we become in Christ, this uncomfortable reality will not change until we reach our heavenly home. Limbo experiences are bound to come from time to time.

But notice that Paul wasn’t resigned to passively living in a bleak, unchanging limbo during his lifetime. Yearning for ever-increasing intimacy with the Lord, he was committed to pressing on until he reached life’s finish line.

Recently I worked on an article describing the breakthroughs God gave many of His people in the Scriptures. These inspiring stories demonstrate that we must never lose hope, for the Lord can find us even we’ve been residing in limbo.

How long does it take to exit limbo? Although it sometimes can take months or years, at other times the breakthrough just requires a simple decision or step of faith.

The Bible is full of examples of God SUDDENLY intervening in people’s health, finances, relationships, or emotions—totally changing their circumstances in a mere moment. Often our exit from limbo takes much longer than that, of course, but it’s good to know that God still can work miracles when we give Him the opportunity.

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