I remember those car rides of my youth very well. I always ended up stuck in the middle of the back seat between my two older brothers. I was the only girl and the youngest and the most giggliest. Is that even a word? My brothers would tickle me from both sides and I would break out in an uncontrollable giggle. The worst part was that I got in trouble for it. My parents would tell me to be quiet to which I would always reply “It’s not my fault, they started it!”
Being in the middle is not always our own choice. I am now in the middle of life and often wake up and wonder what happened to the last forty years. It just flew by. By even more than being in the middle age, I find myself in the middle of stages of life. I am not quite the empty-nester and not quite the retiree. I notice many of friends are grandparents already and are looking forward to retirement- even a few have retired already. But, for me, I just graduated from college last Spring and am ready to start the career portion of my life after being a stay at home mom for the first portion.
The middle- the between stage of life- can be daunting and confusing at times as I wonder what my career path will look like. I feel at times that I don’t fit in with the picture carrying, grandchild bragging set and yet maybe I don’t fit in with those with young children at home. I am stuck in the middle.
The middle is not so bad a place to be as the future is open and it is in those middle moments that we hold onto our faith a little more tightly. I am reminded this morning of the disciples encounter with Jesus in the middle of the lake. The Gospel of Mark specifically makes a point of telling his readers that Jesus saw the disciples straining against the wind in the middle of the lake (Mk. 6:47-48). Jesus had told them to go on ahead while He stayed behind. The were stuck in the middle of the lake, and it was dark and the wind was against them. They were probably not making much progress forward if the wind was against them. It was in this middle moment that they encountered Jesus walking on the water. Mark tells us that Jesus was about to pass by the boat, but they cried out to Him. Mark also tells us they were scared, terrified in fact (vs. 50).
Isn’t this how the middle feels sometimes? Terrifying and dark. You can’t see the shore, the destination you’re heading for and everything is against you. But, thankfully, we can call out to Jesus and He is there for us too. Right there in the middle. For the disciples their terror ended when Jesus stopped and got into the boat with them. The wind stopped and they were able to make it to the other side of the lake. Today, if you’re stuck in the middle trust Jesus to direct your path. Let Him in the boat. he can get you to the other side. God Bless -Nancy