When I Find Myself Living In Limbo

Living in limbo can be challenging. We can't move forward if we are stuck in the present, but our focus is on the future. We need to work and trust.

When I Find Myself Living In Limbo

February 11, 2021

Moving through my daily routine felt like swimming against a current. A restless night turned into an anxious day as I checked my phone every few minutes for an update. 

A watched pot never boils.

This idiom perfectly describes how slowly time passes when you are waiting for something. Or in my situation it could be rewritten as: A watched cell phone doesn’t ring, ding or vibrate. 

On the other side of the watched, silent cell phone lay my daughter who labored to deliver our first grandchild. 

No matter the circumstances, waiting is hard. Waiting puts us in an in-between state. We remain frozen in place until something else happens or a certain amount of time passes. 

Extended holding times makes us live in a state of limbo. One dictionary defines living in limbo as being caught between two stages and uncertain of what will happen next. Researchers have determined uncertainty creates more stress than knowing something bad will happen. 

I’m sure we can all relate to this. COVID-19 continues to leave us in this state of limbo. We long to return to a sense of normalcy. But what will our new normal look like? 

As I reflect on this idea of limbo, I realize God places Christians in an extended state of waiting. For example:

  • As Christians we are God’s children. But what we will be in the future is not yet known. We only know we will be like Christ. (1 John 3:2)
  • As obedient believers, we receive the gift of eternal life. But we have not yet experienced it. (John 3:16)
  • As saved people, we received God’s forgiveness for our sins. And one day He will lift us up and seat us with Christ in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:4-6)

The truth is, since the day I surrendered my life to Christ, I live in a state of limbo. I live in this physical world as I wait for my eternal life to begin in Heaven. But since I don’t often think of Heaven, I rarely feel this sense of limbo. My thoughts and heart remain focused on this present life. Ironically, staying focused on the present is one of the keys for managing the stress of uncertainty.

In his letter, James addressed people living in limbo. These Christians had been mistreated by the wealthy money-lovers in their society. After warning the rich of their coming judgement, (James 5:1-6), James offered these words of encouragement to those who had been wronged: 

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. (James 5:7-8 NIV)

James called the mistreated Christians to refrain from exacting their own vengeance and to wait patiently for the Lord to make things right. Like us, they were caught in limbo~ between His promise and their physical reality.

To help with the waiting, James pointed to the example of patience exhibited by a farmer. In this passage, James refers to the autumn and spring rains. In Palestine, the autumn rains helped soften the soil to prepare it for planting, while the spring rains matured plants for harvesting. After planting the seeds, the farmer never stopped working while he waited for the promised harvest. His work kept moving him forward as he waited between planting the seeds and harvesting them.

In the same way, as Christians we move forward during times of limbo when we continue to focus on the work He asks us to do. And when the time is right, we will harvest the fulfillment of His promises.

As I carried out my daily routines, my unresponsive cell phone broke its silence and announced  the long awaited and safe arrival of our first grandchild.

Waiting is hard, but unavoidable. And it does eventually come to an end. 

As I continue on this journey, I pray to faithfully carry on the work of the One who called me~ until all of His promises come to fruition. Wherever your road leads you, I pray you can do the same.

When I Find Myself Living In Limbo

February 11, 2021

Living in limbo can be challenging. We can't move forward if we are stuck in the present, but our focus is on the future. We need to work and trust.

Moving through my daily routine felt like swimming against a current. A restless night turned into an anxious day as I checked my phone every few minutes for an update. 

A watched pot never boils.

This idiom perfectly describes how slowly time passes when you are waiting for something. Or in my situation it could be rewritten as: A watched cell phone doesn’t ring, ding or vibrate. 

On the other side of the watched, silent cell phone lay my daughter who labored to deliver our first grandchild. 

No matter the circumstances, waiting is hard. Waiting puts us in an in-between state. We remain frozen in place until something else happens or a certain amount of time passes. 

Extended holding times makes us live in a state of limbo. One dictionary defines living in limbo as being caught between two stages and uncertain of what will happen next. Researchers have determined uncertainty creates more stress than knowing something bad will happen. 

I’m sure we can all relate to this. COVID-19 continues to leave us in this state of limbo. We long to return to a sense of normalcy. But what will our new normal look like? 

As I reflect on this idea of limbo, I realize God places Christians in an extended state of waiting. For example:

  • As Christians we are God’s children. But what we will be in the future is not yet known. We only know we will be like Christ. (1 John 3:2)
  • As obedient believers, we receive the gift of eternal life. But we have not yet experienced it. (John 3:16)
  • As saved people, we received God’s forgiveness for our sins. And one day He will lift us up and seat us with Christ in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:4-6)

The truth is, since the day I surrendered my life to Christ, I live in a state of limbo. I live in this physical world as I wait for my eternal life to begin in Heaven. But since I don’t often think of Heaven, I rarely feel this sense of limbo. My thoughts and heart remain focused on this present life. Ironically, staying focused on the present is one of the keys for managing the stress of uncertainty.

In his letter, James addressed people living in limbo. These Christians had been mistreated by the wealthy money-lovers in their society. After warning the rich of their coming judgement, (James 5:1-6), James offered these words of encouragement to those who had been wronged: 

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. (James 5:7-8 NIV)

James called the mistreated Christians to refrain from exacting their own vengeance and to wait patiently for the Lord to make things right. Like us, they were caught in limbo~ between His promise and their physical reality.

To help with the waiting, James pointed to the example of patience exhibited by a farmer. In this passage, James refers to the autumn and spring rains. In Palestine, the autumn rains helped soften the soil to prepare it for planting, while the spring rains matured plants for harvesting. After planting the seeds, the farmer never stopped working while he waited for the promised harvest. His work kept moving him forward as he waited between planting the seeds and harvesting them.

In the same way, as Christians we move forward during times of limbo when we continue to focus on the work He asks us to do. And when the time is right, we will harvest the fulfillment of His promises.

As I carried out my daily routines, my unresponsive cell phone broke its silence and announced  the long awaited and safe arrival of our first grandchild.

Waiting is hard, but unavoidable. And it does eventually come to an end. 

As I continue on this journey, I pray to faithfully carry on the work of the One who called me~ until all of His promises come to fruition. Wherever your road leads you, I pray you can do the same.

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6 Comments

  1. Marlene Houk on February 12, 2021 at 5:53 AM

    Waiting is an efficient tool in the Master’s hand! Your last sentence reminds me of Sarah in the Bible. She journeyed to her pinnacle of faith in Hebrews. She stumbled. She tripped. but she walked on toward the promise until it became Isaac. Thank you for this article!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on February 12, 2021 at 10:20 AM

      Thank you Marlene! I agree- Sarah is a great example of someone who learned to live in limbo. She had to wait a long time for the promise of a son to be fulfilled! 💕

  2. Marcia K. Proctor on February 14, 2021 at 6:56 AM

    Thank you for this… limbo is hard, but worth the wait with God by my side🥰

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on February 14, 2021 at 1:09 PM

      Amen Marcia! Yes we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13) 💕

  3. Bonnie (Susie) for you Shirley on February 14, 2021 at 5:55 PM

    In some ways we are all like children waiting for Christmas or a birthday. How many days. I alway think of the verse: Be still and know I am God His plan is so much better than anything we can every imagine. There are seasons in our lives for a reason but God has the master plan

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on February 14, 2021 at 5:58 PM

      Thank you Susie! I love that verse reminding me to be still because He is God (and I’m not☺️). Thank you for sharing this and reminding us God has the master plan! 💕

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