Much of our existence is spent in the in-between time, between our current reality and anticipated better future. For some, it is living with the longing to be married. For others, it is wondering if they will find a job, or if poor health or a difficult living situation will be resolved.
In the book of Haggai, Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Haggai knew what it meant to live between the now and the not yet. A remnant of Israelites returned to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. The returned leaders, Zerubbabel and Joshua, had been working to rebuild the temple for about 15 years, but it still lay in ruin. Local opposition, negative attitudes, and Israelites focusing on building their own homes had paralyzed the process. In addition, drought and food shortages had taken the heart out of the people. They were challenged, in despair, and experiencing a lack of hope; they were planted squarely between the now and the not yet!
In Haggai 2:4-9, the prophet gave three sustaining truths for living between the now and the not yet.
The presence of God is necessary for us to make it through, to keep hope, and to know that we do not need to depend on our strength alone to finish the journey. In Haggai 2:4 is says, “… be strong … and work … For I am with you, declares the LORD.”
The promises of God give confidence to press on. Haggai continues: “This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear” (Haggai 2:5). When we know that God has spoken to us through His Word and has made His path clear before us, the journey, no matter how rock-strewn, takes on new hope.
The vision of God emboldens and stirs hope. In Haggai 2:6-9, God tells the persevering leaders and builders, “I will fill this house with glory…the glory of this present house will be greater than the former house…and in this place I will grant peace.” Keeping the vision of the glorious end of the road, the future as God has painted it, sustains hope.
No matter what challenges, trials, or waiting God has for you in this present moment, your time living between the now and the not yet will be more hope-filled because of these sustaining truths: the presence of God, the promises of God, and the vision of God.