126 by toh-yasu via DeviantArt
Christian Life

The dreaded middle strikes again

These days, it feels as if I’m perpetually in the middle of something. Ontario is still firmly in the ugly middle of the pandemic; the backs of my hands remind me I’m officially middle-aged; my desk bristles with scraps of ideas; there isn’t a night I don’t fall asleep bemoaning a forgotten chore; I haven’t finished a hot cup of coffee in five years.

And while I’m great at beginnings and have (mostly) made peace with endings, the middle and I aren’t friends. I like to draw up lists, arrange things just so, tick off boxes, and bask the warm glow of a plan well-made and well-executed.

But life isn’t like that.

Life is a series of scattered, interconnected middles that weave together to make a whole story.

It’s messy. It’s unpredictable. It’s not a straight line with one beginning and one ending but a slew of them held together with fairyfloss—a series of scattered, interconnected middles that somehow weave together to make a whole story.

It’s enough to make any Type A (like me) sweat through their pocket protector.

What I’d like to say next is that the Bible is brimming with verses on navigating the middle. But it’s not.

If you’re at the start of something, there are tons of great one-liners to encourage you. “Do not despise these small beginnings,” being my personal favorite (Zech 4:10). You have only to stick a finger into Proverbs at random to find anything else you need.

Endings are covered, too. If the glorious Book of Revelation isn’t enough, give Matthew a read. There’s also always Paul’s reminder that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom 8:28).

But there’s nothing on the middle. At least, nothing you could print on a T-shirt.

You can’t do a keyword search for “middle” and pop up a verse to write on your mirror.

[insert 3-hour break]

Uh…where was I?

See, this is exactly what I mean. Smack in the middle of writing this, I had to stop to make breakfast, get my kid up, hustle her to get ready for online school, tidy up, then sit down again and try to remember what the heck I was talking about. All the carefully-organized, streamlined thoughts I had—poof!—gone.

The dreaded middle strikes again.

*sigh*

So.

Rather than attempting to wrestle a tidy conclusion out of the chaos of the rest of my day (another series of middles), let me end by sharing the thought that stirred me out of bed this morning, raw and uncut, without my usual dramatic scholarly flair.

There isn’t a lot of direct Scripture for the middle like there is for beginning and endings. You can’t do a keyword search and pop up a verse to write on your mirror. What you find instead are myriad admonitions and consolations on how to live a good and godly life, most of the time hanging on by your fingernails. You have to wade through the middle of the Bible to grasp its lessons.

Thankfully, God does it with you.

And while Jesus is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega, it’s the Holy Spirit—the helper and counselor on the earth with us now—who is the middle. For him to dwell in us and with us means that the middle isn’t left to chance. He’s right here, active in the present tense, not past or future.

Jesus is the beginning and the end. The Holy Spirit is the middle.

Because of that, no matter how many mushy, murky, mucky middles I journey through between my beginning and end, I can trust that everything will be just fine, that everything—everything—will be all right.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head, you feel left out
Or looked down on
Just try your best
Try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves
When you’re away
It just takes some time
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be all right, all right
— from “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World


This post is part of Five-Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is MIDDLE. If you’d like to join in the fun, click here!

14 thoughts on “The dreaded middle strikes again”

  1. Love this so much! Yes! It’s really true. I believe the presence of God is made for the middle. Ha, I wrote about the myth of straight-line living this morning, too. And I was thinking of Audrey Assad’s cover of ‘The Middle’ when I sat down to write this morning—though I had no idea it was a cover, ha. Great post! Thank you for sharing this.

    1. I read your post and was so excited to see we were on the same wavelength! I hadn’t heard of that cover, so I’ll have to go look it up. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You made my day! Love the style, reference to the backs of your hands (and mine), the poem, and the fairyfloss (new word for me). I want more fairyfloss. Awesome post!

    1. Thank you! I had a different line there but have been studying the Holy Spirit and rewrote it. He is present with us here and now in the middle of it all!

  3. Great post, and perfect song…one I had quite forgotten!

    And the drawing…is that your work?

    Long time ago I was Type A;
    with no plan I got gloomy.
    The life-change made me lose my way
    when cancer went and threw me
    for a loop and for a fall,
    a long humiliating season,
    and when I thought I lost it all
    I cottoned to the reason
    God plucked me from stream of life
    and placed me on the shore,
    that I could sit back with my wife
    and dogs, and give them more
    of the husband and the dad
    that they’d really never had.

    1. Isn’t it funny how those old songs just come back around? So many memories!

      Alas, the drawing isn’t mine; you can click through to see the original artist’s work. He’s INCREDIBLE.

      Thanks for your poem today! Having an experience like yours would definitely change one’s perspective and approach. <3

  4. Great post. Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from #36
    P.S. Galatians 6:9 popped into mind–“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That sort of addresses the middle.

Leave a Reply to Sandra K Stein Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.