Have you ever been here? Ok, well…maybe not really here, but figuratively speaking, in the middle of nowhere and you could never be happier about it. No responsibilities. No schedule. Just lying in a hammock in the middle of nowhere enjoying perfection and peace. I don’t know about you, but I think I have only caught glimpses of this place. Is that where you get to spend your Golden Years? One can hope!
Maybe your “middle of nowhere” looks more like this:
Now, this one I can relate to. I’ve been there. Scary, huh? You feel like you’re stranded alone on an island with a menacing bank of storm clouds rolling in and you’ve got nowhere to run and hide. Helpless. Alone. Scared. Those are the words that describe how you feel in the middle of your “nowhere.”
Maybe the middle of the night is your most common middle place right now.
Whether you’ve got a little one who just won’t sleep or a burden that won’t let your mind drift into Slumberland, watching the minutes of your precious sleep slip by can be so disheartening when you know what is facing you tomorrow.
Maybe you are hanging out in the middle of the road. You’ve got a decision to make and you’re just stuck there in the middle of the road, unwilling to commit to a direction. You’re making compromises that could put your life in danger by hanging out there and you know it, but you just don’t want to offend anyone. So there you are, stuck in the middle of the road.
Maybe your middle place looks like this:
You are just stuck. Boxed in between a rock and a hard place with no room for growth or life. There is no good answer to the fix you’ve gotten yourself into. Maybe you didn’t even do anything to get in this predicament. Life just happened. It unfortunately has a way of doing that. The result is still the same. The only direction you can see is up, which I’m pretty sure is the best direction to look anyway.
Maybe you’re stuck in the middle of the crowd, or the middle of a fight, or the middle of your kids and spouse. You’re pressed on every side and feeling like everyone wants a piece of you.
You know, Jesus was often found in the middle of a crowd, people begging for His touch, grabbing at the hem of His garment, needing food, wanting healing that only He could give.
Sounds like the life of a mom, right? Guess what! It wore Him out, too! He had to get away for a little bit and even then He still had twelve needy men clamoring for His attention. Yep! Just like the life of a mom. Someone always needs you!
Maybe you’re in the middle of a crowd and you’ve never felt more alone. Everyone around you has somebody to be with. They go together. You look around and know no one and the loneliness threatens to overwhelm you.
There are so many other Middle Places and no two are alike. But here’s the thing. Jesus has already experienced them-the sleepless nights, the mob of people needing Him, the hands tugging on His clothes, the problems dropping through the ceilings, the storms, the calm, making tough decisions, having to wait, the abandonment and aloneness, and ultimately giving His life for ours, hanging on a cross right in the middle of two reprehensible men.
Maybe His Middle Places didn’t look exactly like ours, but He still knows what we’re going through and goes right along beside us. In fact, we are so hemmed in by His love we couldn’t get away from it if we flew to the heavens or went diving to the bottom of the ocean. (Go read Psalm 139:1-15 if you need to be reminded of how persistent and lavish God’s love for you is.) If He is willing to go to those extremes with us, don’t you think He will stick with us as we muddle through the middle of them?