The middle is often a tough place to be. It’s usually a place of uncertainty, fatigue, and struggle. I have worked in a middle school, so I know that middle school-aged children can be uncertain, tiresome, and a struggle. (:-) Often, it’s because they are in that middle phase between being a little child and being a young adult. They are trying to find out who they are, and that is never an easy thing.
Being in the middle of a disagreement between two people is like being caught in between a rock and a hard place. You don’t want to choose sides and make the situation worse, but sometimes you’re forced to be in the middle, and that just doesn’t seem like a fair place to be.
The same goes for being in the middle of a challenging or difficult situation. It definitely doesn’t seem like a fair place to be. Especially when you feel like you’re doing all you can to please God and help people. You may feel like being in the middle of a hard thing seems like you’re being punished for doing what’s right. I remember when I was just learning about being righteous and purposefully seeking opportunities to do good deeds for others. It appeared that every time I did something good, something bad would inevitably happen to me. It was so obvious that this was a pattern in my life, so much so that every time I’d do something good, I’d immediately start feeling bad because I’d wonder what terrible thing would happen to me for doing that good thing.
I was right where the devil wanted me to be. I didn’t understand that those bad things that were happening after my good deeds were a test of my character. I’m not sure if God was allowing the devil to test me as He did Job, or if He was testing me Himself to see if I’d keep a good attitude in the middle of a bad circumstance. Regardless, I was responsible for still keeping a good attitude. Sometimes I’d pass the test, but most times I’d fail.
Also, It seems like being in the middle of a bad circumstance lasts so much longer than being in the middle of a good circumstance. It’s during these “middle” times that we often lose hope and give up because, again, the middle is a tough place to be. One thing I’ve learned is that even with the ugliness and uncertainty of the “middle,” we have to make sure that we still continue to give God praise even for the tough stuff. It may not make any sense, but Christianity is all about having faith in things that in the natural, “don’t make sense.” Psalm 34:1 states, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Skip down a few verses to Psalm 34:4, and he continues, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." This means that if we praise God even in the middle of any type of problem we have, He hears us and will deliver us from what we believe will overtake us.
One way to praise God “in the middle of it” is to think about all of the things that are actually going right in your life, and create a “thankfulness” journal. Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Once you begin the journal, pull it out a few times a week, especially when you are having a difficult time, and remember all the things God has done and is doing in your life. Most times that will help you to shake off the blues and begin to focus on having the peace God intends for all of us to have.
Another way to flourish in the middle of your circumstance is to do good things for others. I remember going through what I thought was a terrible situation once and decided to volunteer at a children’s group home. Those children really helped me put things in perspective without even knowing it. I begin to understand that my problems were not nearly as bad as what some of those children were going through, but they still had peace and appeared to be happy. I had to get myself off of my mind long enough to look at the bigger picture which was serving God and His people. That’s the true path to getting through the middle and on to where God wants us to be. I took note of how those children handled adversity, and begin to genuinely gain my joy again. I pray the same for you today. My prayer is that whatever circumstance you’re in the middle of, God will give you His Peace that surpasses understanding and joy, but please remember that you also have to put in some work to conquer “the middle” by being thankful and doing good deeds for others.
I’m praying for you!