The sagging middle. As a novelist I know it well. It’s when the story bogs down, not much is happening, and you want to get on with it already. Only you don’t know how.
It’s that way in life, or at least in my life at present. I’m in the middle. I can barely remember the beginning, and I have no idea how it will turn out.
I spend a lot of time picturing a better future, hoping for a happy ending. But that doesn’t help me with today. In fact, it makes things worse, causes discontentment.
What if we weren’t to put our energies in visualizing a better ending? What if we learned the joy and art of thriving right now, where the answers sit unresolved, and the tension continues on? What would it look like for us to embrace now for what it is–a messy, confusing place–and still find joy?
What if it’s not that we move to the next stage from unpleasant to pleasant. But we learn to love Jesus fully during depression or frustration. What does it look like to be a disciple of Jesus as you struggle?
Despite our circumstances, because of the Holy Spirit within us, we can make a choice to be okay right now. To stop demanding answers. To cease from daydreaming about the time it will all end.
Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NLT).
The hope is not that our trials will get better. In fact, they may grow worse. The hope is JESUS. And eventually, the hope is heaven.
I may not know the answer to Julia’s mysterious illness. I may not understand the wily ways of the publishing business. I still don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t “get” why Christians swindle other Christians, or churches hurt their flock, or pastors fall.
But I do know Jesus.
And I live in the tension of the middle.
Mind if I pray for you?
Jesus, help my friend to thrive in the middle of his/her pain right now. Instead of demanding whys and answers and solutions, would you help us rest in You and find comfort in You alone? Help us to be joyful in the midst of today,whether relief comes or not. Amen.