By Pia Horton, East Brooklyn Congregations
But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV)
During this Lenten season, we have been introduced to the term liminal spaces. I would venture to guess that to a large majority of us that this is a foreign concept, but after cursory research, I discovered that this concept is not foreign at all. Liminal space refers to a person’s place during a transitional period. It is a gap and can be physical (like a doorway), emotional (like a divorce), or metaphorical (like a decision)—the place of being fully immersed in the dark
ness of the unknown. Simply put, liminal space is life’s waiting room. That space of transitioning from one phase but not yet arriving at the next.
For many of us, the Lenten season means that we are intentional about fasting from a myriad of things like sugar, caffeine, and social media, to name a few. This season, I am choosing to give up the need to know all the answers. The liminal space is an opportunity to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and personally speaking, not knowing the outcome of my life is very uncomfortable for me. So uncomfortable that I spend a significant amount of time getting in God’s way by trying to do things on my own, and I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with this. Becoming comfortable in uncomfortable spaces requires a change of perspective that shifts from anxiety and fear of the unknown to trusting God in these liminal spaces.
It means placing our hope in the God who was with our ancestors in their liminal spaces. Our ancestors who were thrust into the unknown when they were forcefully removed from the motherland and brought to these shores, where they would endure the daily assault on their bodies, spirit, and psyche. Under those circumstances, it must have been a real struggle for them to wait on God in the midst of them living a hell on earth experience.
Like those who came before us, we also know these spaces well. We live in an almost post-pandemic world where most days, we are reliving the nightmare that our forbearers fought and died to free us from. It is in these spaces that we should never forget that we serve a God that is right alongside us in the murky uncertainty of life’s transitions. We are in a liminal space individually and collectively as a faith community.
It is in these liminal spaces that we should wait on God. In these spaces, God is binding us closer to him. In these spaces, God is strengthening our hope as we wait for His promises to be fulfilled and His vision to come to fruition in our lives. God uses the liminal space to strengthen our faith so that we are ready to move into the blessings he holds for us. To ensure that we are spiritually, emotionally, and mentally prepared to receive them; so that we are prepared to soar, succeed, and sustain the blessing. To run and not get weary. To walk and not faint.
In this Lenten season let us renew our strength by trusting, hoping, and waiting on God.