Every story has a beginning, a middle and and end. Beginnings are exciting and full of hope. A new baby, a wedding, 1st job, or the first few miles of a marathon, most of us love new beginnings and we celebrate them. The end of the story can be pretty cool too! Golden wedding anniversary, retirement from a great career, when you have been praying for years for that family member who is far from God and see them come to faith in Christ. Or like my wife and I seeing our son graduate from college after some tenuous years in High School. Beginnings and endings are where it’s at.
It’s in the middle is where things get hard. The truth is we are “Made in the Middle,” and how we navigate the middle determines what kind of a person or what kind of a leader we will become. How many Christian leaders can we point to who have been built successful ministries and then lost their way. It can be hard to have faith when you’re in the middle of something. The longer we spend in the middle, the harder it gets. In raising children it’s the teenage years that can be a challenge. How about midlife, it’s not the most fun season.
We see the reality of ‘Made in the middle‘ throughout the Bible. In Exodus 14 – the Nation of Israel is fleeing from the Egyptian army, they find themselves in the middle. They are trapped between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, and the people of Israel begin to panic.
As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” 13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lordrescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
We are no different, we sometimes find ourselves in the middle of difficult circumstances, things take a bad turn and we don’t know what to do. We pray and God is silent. We feel the weight of things bearing down on us. Sometime it feels like we are living through a storm, the waves are coming over the bow, and we fear we will find ourselves at the bottom of the sea. In these moments of intense pressure is where our relationship with God is deepened and our characters are formed. From the pressure of life, we can become weary and find our faith growing weak. This can lead us to begin to compromise and even sell out our convictions. As Christian leaders we can loose sight of our calling, we can begin to use people for our our benefit that God once called us to love & serve. WE LOSE OUR WAY!
The odds you can predict the path of your life are very small. The unpredictable, sometimes the unthinkable happens, things we don’t see coming. God does not expect you to predict the path of your life, but just to walk in it, to walk in faith. Like the Israelites, It’s hard for us not to doubt when we are in the middle being pressured on all sides. The hard part, the middle, is where most of life is lived. The 1st day is not hard, the last day is not hard, but every day in the middle is hard.
What do we need to know about the times we find ourselves in the Middle?
When the people of God were stuck in the middle between the Red Sea their enemies and Moses has a message for them, and his message also applies for those of us who find ourselves in the Middle as well:
1. Don’t be afraid.
2. Just stay calm.
3. The Lord Himself will fight for you.
lowing, keep the faith, walk in humility, lead faithfully. Jesus can take the sting of the things that hurt us away. If you are in the middle today, Its an invitation to push through, faith is believing in things we can’t see.