Has the future every felt or looked fuzzy or blurry to you? It has for me lately. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen one of my posts for the #10thingstotellyou challenge. In it I admitted that I was struggling to find direction- to figure out my place in ministry at this stage of life. I feel God stirring my heart for a change, but I'm not clear what that is.
One of my favorite songs is a song called "Pompeii" by the group Bastille. The entire song is lead singer Dan's expression of his fear of being stuck in limbo. If you know anything about the historical Pompeii, you know that in 79 AD the Italian city was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. As burning ash poured down on the city, it instantly killed the residents, burying their bodies and preserving their form for thousands of years. It froze the people in time-preserved them in their exact stance and facial expressions (which is horrifying if you've ever seen them on display).
When Dan saw the plasters made of the preserved bodies in the British Museum, he was shook to the core. He imagined himself being one of those people, buried in ash, stuck in the same place and position forever. It uncovered a deep fear he held that he would get stuck in life and remain there forever. The song Pompeii was born and became wildly popular a few years ago. The song has a catchy melody and drum beat, but I believe the song was popular because it tapped into a fear we all hold-what if I get stuck?
“How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”
This is the question Dan belts out in the chorus.
Limbo doesn't have to be a waste of time. It doesn't have to be a place we dread. Limbo is a place where we wait on the Lord-a place where we learn to listen to his still, quiet voice. It is a place where he teaches, shapes, and prepares us for whatever he has next. Though we feel like we are in limbo, God is moving.
Psalm 37:4 is one of the most quoted scripture verses: “Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.” But do you know what verse 3 says? “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
In Limbo, God calls us to be faithful with the things he has made clear-the things he has already called us to do. Even if we feel something new is coming over the horizon, we breed contentment when we stay faithful to the things we are called to for today.
“Oh, where do we begin: the rubble or our sins?”
I find Dan’s question here intriguing. Here we have a song about being stuck and the fear that everything will crumble around you. What does he ask-Ok, what do we do now? Do we begin by changing our circumstances (the rubble) or do we begin by looking deeper into our hearts and into things that may have contributed to our limbo (our sins)?
For followers of Jesus, it is also an important introspection. Does changing my circumstances really get me out of limbo or is my sin causing me to miss something from the Lord? Have I ignored his next step for me out of fear? Am I paralyzed to even ask out of lack of trust that God has my best in mind?
We can trust that we follow a God who washes away our sins and makes the rubble something new.
Perhaps there is no sin keeping us from hearing the Lord’s voice. Perhaps he is silent and simply wants to show himself to us in the wait. The silence of God is not always due to sin. It maybe due to God’s plan for our lives. How do we know the difference? We must ask the Holy Spirit for discernment and bear our hearts honestly before the Lord.
The Lord is merciful and gracious and, though we are bad at following him, He never fails to lead us well.
Limbo is a place where rubble is made into treasure, a place where we find out what we truly believe, and a place where God reminds us that he is faithful. It is not a place to dread. It is not a waste of time.
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If you found this post helpful, you might also like:
Hope in the Agony of Waiting
When God's Answer is Not the One You Want
The Silent Saturday: The Significance of the Day in Between the Cross and the Resurrection