Josh was a happy go lucky 3 and a half year old when he started getting bruises on his body. We took him to the doctor and they said he probably had a virus. The doctor said that if his bruising didn’t go away in a week that we should bring him back in. Two days later the small bruises on his legs grew into huge black spots so we took him back to the doctor who took a blood test and determined that something was abnormal about his blood. I could tell by the look in her eye that something was wrong, very wrong. That was the moment I stepped into the land between.
The next morning Children’s called and admitted him. Six hours later the doctors held a meeting with us and said that Josh had leukemia and 95% of his blood was cancerous. Without immediate treatment, he would not survive. Kathi and I were devastated and confused. One day we were a happy family, the next we were fighting for our son’s life. We spent the next 3 years in the land between trying to raise our young girls, get Josh to his treatments on time, and pastor a young growing church.
The land between is a place where your faith will either grow deeper and stronger or wither and die. The land between might feel barren, but it’s not. There are three types of crops that can grow in this land.
The first crop is complaints. We cry out: “I’m sick of this. I’m sick of living from paycheck to paycheck. I’m sick of going to bed at night wondering if my teenager will come home. I’m tired of waiting to find out if the cancer is in remission.” Complaints grow in the absence of direction or purpose. The land between is tough even for the most spiritual people.
The second crop is fear. Fear grows in the absence of security. We wonder: “Will I be able to get another job? Will I ever find someone to love me for who I am? Will I ever have enough money to retire? Will I ever have kids?” When fear grows it chokes out faith and impacts everything. Even biblical heroes like Elijah and Jesus’ own disciples had moments of fear.
The third crop that can grow in the land between is faith. About a week after josh got sick with leukemia I remember feeling like I was faced with a decision. Every part of me wanted to quit and stop talking to people about how I was feeling and stop talking to God because I was angry and hurt and worried. One person I met with told me my son was sick because I didn’t pray for him enough. Another said that if I really had faith I would just pray for him and God would heal him. Their statements caused me more pain and confusion than anything else. So in that period of time I decided to lean into Jesus with everything that I had… and I did. I look back on that terrible time in the land between and what sticks out to me more than anything else is just how much I grew in my faith.
When you are in the land between, you have to trust God because God is all you have. You are ready to listen to God and are more than willing to follow Him wherever he leads you. It can be an incredible place to grow closer to Christ. It will take faith and faith is trust. Trust is built over time and God has proven himself trustworthy again and again.
If you want your faith to grow in the land between, you must plant the promises of God in your heart. Here are six promises that you should plant in your life right now to help your faith grow.
1. Promise of salvation and eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Stop doubting if you are saved or not. If you have asked Jesus to be the LORD of your life, confessed your sins, and believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, you are saved, period. You don’t have to wake up every day wondering if God saved.
2. Promise of forgiveness. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’ ” Luke 5:20. God said it, I believe it, that’s all there is to it.
3. Promise of freedom from addiction. Jesus says: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36. You don’t have to let an addiction run your life into the ground. You don’t have to hide it or be embarrassed about it, and you can gain victory over it. Jesus will help you overcome your addiction.
4. Promise of comfort. Paul writes: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. God promises to be with us and He is. It’s our job to trust Him and let him guide and comfort us. God can bring supernatural comfort if you ask Him to. God will hold you up when everything else is pushing you down.
5. Promise of peace.
Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27.
6. Promise to provide. Paul writes: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19. God promises to provide for you and He will. God loves to provide so ask him to meet all of your needs right now.
If you are in the land between, plant the promises of God in your life and watch what God does. Keep trusting, keep believing, keep your eyes focused upward, and keep listening for God to lead you and guide you. He will. He promises to. In the land between God always provides exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. The cross is our sign that God will fulfill all of these promises in your life if you trust Him.