In an article in the September 2017 Christianity Today, singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken talks about the two spiritual time zones we live in. “On the one hand, by faith we are held secure in the love of God. On the other hand, though we have been made secure in Christ, we continue to experience uncertainty. We are sojourners, not yet home” (“Our Two Spiritual Time Zones,” Christianity Today, September 2017, p. 30).
Theologians refer to this tension between our two spiritual time zones ‘living in “the in-between” and in “the now and net yet” or in “the interim.”
McCracken relates this period to experiencing jet lag after a long flight. Things can often feel out of sync. Our bodies get weary, our minds get fuzzy about what day it is, and our thoughts get muddled about our schedules, but then we adjust, get back in sync and back on track about the business of living.
This metaphor of having spiritual jet lag is helpful to me because it acknowledges the fact that we can get weary and tired in our faith walk in the space between these two spiritual time zones. This is a natural part of being human. I think of the disciples who slept while Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. They were mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted in the time leading up to the fulfillment of God’s promise to save his people by sending his Son to die for us.
It is OK to be tired sometimes, to have uncertainty in the interim, to feel a little lost and disoriented in this time of waiting for Christ’s return to take us home to be with him in heaven as his redeemed and forgiven people. I am remedied of St. Paul’s words in Romans 8:22: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” Groaning is a part of the process at times, and not something to be afraid of.
But we can always find rest and reassurance and renewed energy in the Word of God. The Scriptures are always what can get us back on track and about the business of spreading the word about the time to come. I think of Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Dwelling in the Word gets us recalibrated, reoriented and regrounded.
We wait with patience for the Last Day and remember with confidence what Jesus says to all believers in Revelation: “Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7).