Hope, joy, love, and peace are themes upon which we think as we celebrate and anticipate the coming of Christ during this Advent season. Hope, joy, love, and peace have been four emotions that I have encountered face-to-face this year. I have experienced the joy of obtaining my doctoral degree and being ordained. I have locked hands with peace as the reconciliation of relationships materialized in my family. God gave me the opportunity to stare love in the face when I discovered the identity and location of my biological father. Lastly, the announcement of the upcoming birth of my first grandchild has brought hope for a legacy that will be more loving, stronger, and wiser. Encountering these four words in the flesh has motivated me to believe that they do exist in this “in-between” place in which I find myself.

After all the celebration and glory of 2018, I found myself without a church home and job. It was a hard land to go from celebration to isolation. The concern that I would not hear God’s guiding voice was undeniable. The angst that God would not speak or guide was palpable. Fear was replacing hope. Then a little six-year-old boy invited me to hear his first Scripture reading in public, and I listened to a story of Jesus that brought forth hope.

The disciples were on a ship with Jesus, and Jesus was asleep. A windstorm came down upon the boat, and it began to fill with water. The disciples were afraid and thought they would die. The ship was filling up with water. The wind was blowing hard, and they feared for their lives. They woke up Jesus who admonished them for their fear and lack of faith. He calmed the wind and the sea, and they landed on the other side (Mark 4: 35-Mark 5:1).

I realized that in this story the disciples were operating in the place in which I am existing. They were in an “in-between” place. They had just departed from shore where it was safe. It was a place where miracles had taken place. It was a place where they had been celebrated. It was a place they had witnessed hope, joy, love, and peace. They were trying to reach a place that would hold more wonder. It would be a place where they fully operated in their calling. Miracles would transpire, demons would flee, and God would be glorified. But to reach their destination, they had to battle the sea. Danger, despair, and fear materialized in their “in-between” place – the sea.

Many of the disciples were skilled fishermen who were knowledgeable in dealing with rocky seas. I have experience in dealing with rocky seas. Like the disciples, after doing all I know to do, the waves keep beating the ship, and the vessel keeps filling up with water. As I look at this passage in search of what to do in the ‘in-between” place, I see several things that give me HOPE. The lessons it teaches me, I share to provide you with hope.

  1. You are not alone. Other ships were traveling with them (Mk 4:36). You are not the only one in the “in-between” place. There are others on the ship and beside the boat with you. Most importantly, Jesus is on the ship.


  1. You do not have to fear. You are safe. A stormy sea does not indicate the lack of God’s presence. In this in-between place, you have the Hope of Glory, the Love of Christ, the Joy of the Lord who gives you strength, and the Prince of Peace sailing with you. It may not feel like it, but you are safe. He is Emmanuel, God with us. The stormy sea will not harm you.  Do not fear. He has power over the winds and the sea. He is in control.


  1. There is an “other side.” Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side (Mk. 4:35).” There is an “other side” to which God is taking you. You will experience stormy seas along the way. Trust Jesus along the way. Trust that he will keep you safe. Trust that he will get you to the destination. You will get there. TRUST.

Ossie X. McKinney received her Master of Divinity degree from McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia, and Doctor of Worship from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia.