King of the Threshold People

“ Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.”
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

I spoke to a recovery group in Indiana last week and had the opportunity to share my story with the staff of a large church there that same afternoon. I had the opportunity to honestly share my struggles, doubts, and shifting ideas that at one point in my life would have scared me to even admit to myself, let alone a group of ministry professionals. During the time of Q&A that followed a pastor asked me if there was one thing that I could say I held to with certainty amid all the swirling doubts that followed me into the threshold season of life in which I found myself. I told him that I was pretty sure of two things: God is in control, and Jesus cares deeply. For me those two things are enough these days.

I have written about the Threshold People to some extent recently – those of us for whom life seems to be standing still finding us somewhere between who we once knew ourselves to be, and the person that our new paradigms, challenges and ideas have yet to completely reveal.

We don’t have to read much of Henri Nouwen’s work to realize that he is probably king of the Threshold People. He speaks so much about living in the tension of the now and the not yet. He has been said to consider his vocation as a priest that of connecting the spiritual with the earthbound.

His bouts of clinical depression, desires for intimacy in light of the vows of celibacy he took as a Catholic priest, and a host of other deeply personal issues are said to have plagued him until his death in 1996. Still, his written works live on as a beacon of hope to those who find themselves in similar seasons when life and faith collide leaving us seemingly motionless in the portals.

Nouwen’s statement regarding the guiding hand of a loving God reminds us that it is that loving hand which brought us into the thresholds and it will be that loving hand which ushers us on from them and on to the next. What I love most about his writing is the faithful way he points others to hope and purpose in the midst of his own pain.

As we live out community together our greatest gift to one another is to hold out hope. This isn’t a hope that comes from being profound. It is simply a hope that reminds one another of the guiding hand of a loving God.

God is in control, and Jesus cares deeply. Even in the thresholds.

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