Everything has a beginning. Everything has an end and everything has middle.
Have you ever thought about the word middle? It’s just not really a fun or exciting word, like beginning or even end. The greeting card rack is full of cards celebrating new beginnings like a new marriage, a new baby or even a new home. There are even cards wishing you a happy ending. Some examples are celebrating a graduation or retirement, but have you ever seen a card wishing you a happy middle experience? My guess is probably not.
When I think about the word middle the pictures or thoughts that come to mind are middle aged or mid-life crisis, middle child, hump day, the place fat likes to live, halfway there on a road trip (are we ever going to get there) and other not so exciting imaginings.
Beginnings and endings are filled with excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead and where we are going or what we’ve accomplished or where we have arrived. But middles… Sigh, its Wednesday, isn’t it?
Do you start your beginnings, a New Year, a new day or a new adventure with God but then everything else gets in the way and you find yourself in the middle out of steam with a clouded vision wondering what’s the point and is it ever going to end?
Matthew 14:22-23 gives one of the most fun stories about Jesus in the Bible. Oh I know there are a lot of theological applications we can make from this account but I suspect this was a pretty awesome experience for the disciples, remembered, revisited and retold many times.
It had been a busy and taxing day for Jesus. He had just learned of John’s beheading and pulled away to be alone but a huge crowd followed Him there. Jesus saw that many of them were sick, so He spent the day ministering to them and healing those that were ill and even performed a miracle so they would not go away hungry. You can imagine how tired Jesus was so he told the disciples to go on ahead of Him and cross over to the other side of the sea. The disciples were surely aware that Jesus was spent and needed time to rest and pray so that got into their boat and started to cross.
They found themselves in the middle, far from the shore and it wasn’t smooth sailing. They were battling waves and high winds and were probably tired from rowing. Isn’t that how life is when we find ourselves in the middle? Very often we are tired, out of energy and then comes one of life’s storms. I’m sure they just wanted to get this trip over. But then something changed. Jesus came to them right there, right then in the middle of their mess. He didn’t come by boat, angels didn’t airlift him, no He came walking on the water. God’s word tells us the disciples thought it was a ghost and were terrified. Guess they hadn’t seen Ghostbusters yet. You know sometimes we are so caught up in our situation we don’t even recognize Jesus when He is right there with us.
All of a sudden, the middle isn’t boring or hard any more. Forget about the wind. Forget about the waves. Forget about the fact that we still have a way to go. Jesus says, “Hey guys, don’t be afraid, it’s me.” Can’t you just hear them now? “No way man, is that really you Lord? Get out of town, you have got to be kidding me.” Then Peter said, “Hey I want to do that. I want to walk on water.” You know what that is exactly what He did. No skis, No surfboard, just on his own two feet Peter walks on water, until he gets to the middle that is. Sometimes it’s in the middle when we feel like we are sinking. The word says Jesus reached out and caught him; they got back in the boat and the wind ceased.
Wow, a boring, tedious, tiring boat ride became an exciting, exhilarating, unforgettable experience. We are still talking about it today. You know your middles can be like that. When God shows up there is no telling what is going to happen but I can promise you it won’t be ordinary because we serve an extraordinary God who will turn our marginal middles into marvelous moments.
Philippians 1:6 says He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Notice it says He will carry it on. God is the beginning and the end but He also wants to be there in your middles. Ask God to meet you in the middle. It might just be the most exciting time of your life!
There is always Hope in God.