What Happens in the Middle

We are a culture of the immediate.  Certainly we don’t want to wait for anything. Any task undertaken is expected to move at a reasonable (of course what determines reasonable) or we get impatient.  Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle.

Last week, Marshall and I took a road trip to Canada as a way of celebrating his 18th birthday. We met up with his best friend’s family to tour Toronto and visit Niagara Falls. The drive is about 10.5 hours, around Lake Michigan and then straight across Michigan and up into Canada between Huron and Erie. Both Marshall and I love to travel. The time on the road is, to us, part of the vacation. And 10.5 hours isn’t really that long. Still corn fields and cow pastures look about the same on both sides of the boarder, and hour upon hour of little else can lead toward monotony. The middle. The time between. Starting out is full of excitement. Arriving, even more so. The middle is…well…the middle. The wait. The slow progress toward an anticipated end.

So here I am in the middle of Joel’s chronic pain. Here I am in the middle of life after the prison sentence. Here I am in the middle of life in Wisconsin. And I wonder, “What happens in the middle?” and “How long is this middle?” Maybe you’ve wondered these same things.

I don’t have an answer to how long the middle is. But I think I’m beginning to learn a little bit of what happens in the middle. The middle is where as the saying goes, the rubber meets the road. What I believe collides with reality. And the collision rocks. Does what I believe hold up? Do I say I believe in a God of power, and yet sit in the middle with no expectation of that power? Do I settle? For the irreconcilable? The middle is the proving ground. It is the time when everything I say I believe, can be worked out by His power in the way I live. Because even though I don’t know how long it will last, I know it is just the middle. It won’t last forever. My expectations are far bigger than “the middle.” And my God is far bigger too.

The Middle

One day at the end,
I’ll look back and see,
The winding path,
Round mountain cliffs,
Where you were leading me.
One day on the other side,
The middle far behind,
I’ll look upon
Your precious face,
The answers I will find.
One day before your throne,
What I cannot see form here.
Will suddenly make sense,
The middle will be clear.

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