“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company…You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.” – John Piper, American Clergy
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” – Ecclesiastes 7:8
These wise words from King Solomon admonish us to hold on. In difficult situations, we can wait to see what the end will be. Patience is equated with humility, and impatience with pride. Jesus Christ announced in Rev. 1:9, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” We place a lot of focus on the beginning and the end…but what about the middle? That seems to be where all the struggle is. John Piper explains above that it’s in the in the middle where the dark night of the soul occurs— where we can find ourselves wandering aimless and lost. The middle is where we become anxious because God is often silent. It’s where we sometimes give up hope. The MIDDLE is defined as the point or position at an equal distance from the sides, edges or ends of something; the point at or around the center of a process or activity, period of time, etc. The middle is where you’re too invested to turn back, but not far enough along to be finished. We don’t talk much about the middle, but we should. A large part of our adult life is called Middle Age.
When the Israelites were being freed from enslavement to Egypt, the Lord told Moses to lift up his rod, the Red Sea parted and they escaped. Afterward, Pharaoh’s army, his horses, and chariots, were thrown into the sea, and there was great celebration.(Ex. 14-15) But then they arrived at the middle—the wilderness. They wandered for 40 years as God dealt with their hearts. The murmuring and complaining that occurred in the middle disqualified most of those who’d been freed from slavery from entering the promised land. Only the families of Caleb and Joshua and the next generation obtained the promise; the rest died in the middle. What is your disposition in your middle?
At the next opportunity, as the priests touched the Jordan River with their feet at Joshua’s command…it began to recess. The people were able to cross, but the priests had to STAND in the MIDDLE of the Jordan until everyone made it through safely. The middle required intercession. Once everyone made it through, the Lord told Joshua to have 12 men from the twelve tribes collect stones from the MIDDLE of the Jordan where the priests had stood to make a memorial, God said in Joshua 4, 6b “In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” Are you in the middle today? Does it feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place? God is there in the middle with you. He will bring you to the other side as you trust Him with the in between…