I often dash into the grocery store without a list. I know, big mistake. The perimeter of the store contains the healthiest choices. The produce, meats, and dairy departments provide a path for the wise shopper. However list-less customers like me often land in the inner aisles – where the other stuff is stocked.
With healthy and not-so-healthy items in my basket, I stopped near the meat counter. The cart beside me was full of perimeter-only items. The son of the cart’s owner was about to make sure I knew the difference.
He looked around five years old. As his nutrition offender alarm went off he belted, “Look Mom! This lady has lots of pisservitives (meaning preservatives) in her cart. ” I smiled and look away.
As if to assure him my groceries were not a crisis, his mom said, “Oh honey, that’s okay.” And then to apologize for his reaction, she looked at me and said, “I’m sorry. I’m trying to teach him to pay attention to what’s in our cart. I guess he’s still learning other people’s carts are none of his business.” I laughed and thought that may take a while.
The boy’s comment, however, allowed me to notice something important. I was at aisle six and there were a total of twelve aisles in the store. Regardless of what happened in aisles 1 through 5, I’d made it half-way. There were still choices I could make to impact the final outcome.
However, depending on the options available to us the half-way point can seem messy. But the middle holds something magnificent — the opportunity to reassess and recharge. What are you in the middle of now? Are you trying to make a decision, finish a project, or just get through your day?
Scripture allows us to see people who were in the middle of challenging circumstances. And yet, they emerged renewed on the other side. We can read about people who were in the middle of fiery furnaces, lion’s dens, and deserts. In each case, the terror or terrain they faced brought little hope. But in each case something miraculous happened.
The furnace would have consumed them if it were not for the presence of God. The lion would have feasted on them if it were not for the protection of God. The desert would have depleted them if it weren’t for the provision of God. Now there’s a list worth writing upon my heart. It reminds me that with God, the middle looks promising.
With Him, the middle becomes a pivot and not the end. We can encounter His presence, protection, and provision if we are willing to trust Him. Considering His faithfulness and love, trusting God should be easy. But when I walk by sight it becomes impossible. It takes the faith-walker in me to trust in the Lord and what He does.
As you consider what you’re in the middle of here’s some good news: God always finishes what He starts. When we are out of sync with His intentions, we can return through His instructions. His presence, power, and provision assure us we can make it through anything – even an encounter with an outspoken five-year old. Just thinking about it brings hope to my heart and joy to my soul.
“I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world.” – Philippians 1:6 (VOICE)