I told someone today that we are in the middle. And if you ask most people, the middle is the hardest part. It’s at that point where you feel like you can’t go back to where you started, but still can’t see the finish line. It can be a place of frustration, fear and sadness. The waiting during this period can be so hard, and it doesn’t even matter what you’re waiting for! At this point in the pandemic, even waiting in line at that new Dutch Bros can bring about a slight depression!
Years ago, we went hiking once at the Pinnacles. It’s a very interesting national park in California. I say interesting because it’s not the spectacular landscape of say a Yosemite, but the beauty is there just the same. It’s claim to fame are talus caves that you can hike through, which are pretty fun, unless of course you like to see your hand in front of your face! And yes…that’s not my type of hiking. I could choose not to do it, but the only problem is that I wasn’t alone. So what do you do when your partner is much more adventurous than you? Well that’s how I wound up in the middle of a cave, with no light and very little courage. That’s the scary part of the middle…sometimes you aren’t even sure you’re there yet. At what point can we differentiate between the walking in, and the point when we’re finally making our way out.
When we were far enough into the cave where no natural light reached, I was scared. It was an unnatural fear that’s beyond what is normal. Crazy as it sounds, the rocks themselves gave me peace. “…You are my rock,” says part of Psalm 31. That portion of verse gave me hope. I kept repeating that to myself as I carefully found my way through the rocks. Once I got through the cave to the other side, I really didn’t fear it any more. I was still a bit uncomfortable with the darkness, but since I now knew about where the middle was, I was able to enjoy the cave instead of being so anxious to get out.
We’re in the middle, but are we still headed in or on our way out? That’s the question! As we continue to live through this painful time in our history, I think back to that cave and the God who is my Rock. Remembering gives me hope, and isn’t that what this time of the year’s all about? Redemption, light in the darkness, joy, peace…..The HOPE of Christ!