Ordinary words capitalized. That always felt like a way to say a lot with little to me. Jesus is good in the Now. I’m living in the Meantime.
The latter was the inspiration for one of the more personal songs I’ve ever written. I was going through the heart-crushing of something that felt like a promise giving way, dropping out from under me. And the emotional response was resonating with two biblical figures I’d never associated with each other: Joseph and Sara. Because in the 20/20 of hindsight, we see these two as just that—figures in God’s plan. Not as everyday humans, who were scared and confused and frustrated and were (or at least felt) betrayed and abandoned. Who probably sobbed uncontrollably more than once in their torment. And who had no idea what it would look like on the other side of that dark.
Joseph is, to me, the epitome of Ps 73:13 – “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure.” Not a perfect man, sure. Definitely had a bit of a messiah complex when it came to his kin. But one who refused to compromise YHWH’s will amid every chance in the world to not.
And life spat in his face for decades before he knew the Why.
And Sara. The one who gets a bad rap for laughing in doubt, when in fact her pain must have been more than I can comprehend – that of the barren. To be told at 90 it was time to finally become a mother. Completely outside of any timeline she could have possibly had.
And I felt like both of these two. Like my best attempts to be faithful to Him were not being met in the ways I’d hoped for so long. And what felt like finally it just wasn’t. And to use the most frank metaphor I can, my heart felt barren. Hope still lived, but it had no eyes. There was no frame of reference.
And so words spilled out of me – “The Meantime’s where I’m living now // and I confess I don’t know how to wait // You say it will be better than the little plans my fickle heart can make // but it’s hard to give that reverence when I have no frame of reference for it // You’re saying there’s much hope in this, but right now hoping sure feels dangerous.”
Finding hopes dashed upon the rocks can make hoping all the harder. God basically tells Job, over the course of several chapters, “You’re in the fog. I’m not.” And that is both reassuring and also deeply painful when we can’t see the Why.
For me, between the time of first writing of Joseph and Sara, I saw God’s faithfulness come through in that loss beyond what I had any frame of reference for. It was beautiful beyond my imaginings and continues to be every day since. But I still needed to write the final verse, ending on Jesus in Gethsemane. For two reasons. The first, because He is the ultimate paradigm of obedience in the midst of the hardest cup of suffering to ever be poured out from the Father. And second, because promises fulfilled can happen after death in the life of God’s own, and often do. But rest assured, there is nothing, outside of His redeeming and remaking unto His glory. And what a wild thing, that His glory, in His mercy, aligns with our ultimate Good.
by Joshua Leventhal