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One Sunday a few weeks ago, our pastor told a story about another pastor he knew whose daughter, a drug addict, left home and was living on the streets for a couple of years. The family had suffered a lot of heartbreak because of their daughter. He went on to share how during one prayer meeting, someone handed him a note and said that she felt they should all stop and pray only for the pastor’s daughter.
Two days later, the daughter came home. She wanted to know what had happened two nights earlier. Her father told her about the prayer meeting. She told him the reason she had asked is that she felt something happening that night and it caused her to turn her life around. It was the group’s prayers that turned her life around and she had no idea at the time that is was even happening. She and her husband are now in full-time Christian work.
What happened to “B?” We know “A”, the story of the pastor and his daughter. We know “C”, the daughter is no longer living on the streets and is now in full-time Christian work. But we don’t know her middle. And we don’t need to.
But where is “B”?
I think we’ve become a nation that doesn’t like to know the “B”. We prefer the beginning and the end, but we sure as heck don’t want to know about the middle.
Maybe it’s because we want to think we can go from A to C and skip B. If they did it, we can too.
When I write about depression, I always write about the many detours along the way. I write that it was a roller-coaster ride some weeks. I do that for one very good reason. That’s because I know that almost nothing in this world is achieved without hard work, the “B”, the process no one sees.
Think about the times that a Hollywood star seems to show up out of nowhere. We’ve never even heard of them and all of a sudden they are a star. But when they are interviewed, we learn that they’ve been practicing their trade in all kinds of venues. We didn’t see the “B”. A runner wins a race. We see the runner start, we see the runner run, we see the runner win. What we don’t see is all the training the runner does before the race. We don’t see their disciplined behavior. We didn’t see the “B”. That nowhere is more evident than during the Olympics. Many of these young athletes begin training at four or five in the morning before school and again after school. But we don’t see any of it.
I like inspirational stories as much as anyone else. Developing my blog might be such a story, small though it might be. This blog showed up one day on WordPress like magic.
It was hard work for months. I knew nothing about computers or computer language, much less how to set up a blog. It took me a couple of the most frustrating weeks before I was able to write my first post. And no one saw it but me because I didn’t know how to make it available to anyone. Even today as I write, you are not aware of the thought I’m putting into this. You don’t know if it’s the middle of the night. You don’t know if I’m tired. You are reading the final result, “C”. But you have no clue about “B”. Just like I don’t see your “B” either.
And that’s true of most of us. I think of depression. Maybe you work outside the home and every day the effort you make to even get out of bed is enormous. Then to get out the door, etc. This is your “B”. No one sees it. They just see your “C.”
God looks at the middle
I’m currently writing my second book. It is requiring a lot of reading and studying various persons in the Bible. What is interesting to me is that entire lives are covered in a matter of chapters. Chapters! Mostly, we read about the “A’s” and the “C’s”. We get only glimpses into the “B’s”. It makes understanding their actions very difficult. But it’s what writers like me love. It’s what Bible scholars love, discovering the “B’s”. I’m reading about Jacob right now and if I didn’t know there was a middle somewhere in his story, I would question why God blessed him the way He did. But God looks at the middle, doesn’t He? And if I never figure it out, well, again, God knew what He was doing.
God sees our struggles, He sees our hearts. He’s much more concerned with the middle because that’s where we live. I’m going to have to remember that when I try to understand Jacob.
The middle is the important part
I guess what I’m saying is don’t get discouraged that you haven’t reached “C” yet. The “B”, the in-between, the hard work, is what’s important. And don’t be too caught up if your “C” turns out to be huge and you gain some accolades. Remember, it’s the trip in between A to C that got you where you are.
We often feel stuck in the middle. If that’s you today, remember, eventually you will be unstuck. No one stays mired in the middle forever even though it sure can feel that way.
And if you struggle with depression and anxiety and are now better, don’t sit on your haunches and think there is nothing else to do. Remember your “B” and put it in motion every time you feel depression or anxiety starting to pull you down.Tweet
Finally, your middle, your “B” is yours alone. No one else takes your journey but you. But God is the God of the middle whether anyone sees it or not.
I often sit at my computer and wonder about the lives of those who read these posts. I wish we could talk. But I am open to e-mail and would love to hear from you, email@example.com. I hope you have a really good day. I mean that.