I know that this blog post is meant for someone going through it. I can sense that you feel worn all the way out. You’re “in the middle” of whatever you're going through. Sis, I want you to know that you aren't alone. I'm very familiar with that "middle place." The middle is that place where we would never choose to be if it were up to us. It's that place in between where you prayed for something and you’re waiting to see it come true. I felt this topic so heavy this week which means that God has YOU in mind. If you’re “in the middle,” this is for you.
Maybe you prayed for a child and you’re waiting to see that dream of becoming a parent come true. Maybe you’re “in the middle” of looking for a new job. "In the middle" of a loss that has your heart in pieces. Or it could be that you are “in the middle” of going through the motions where you feel frustrated that your life looks the same but completely different than what you thought it would be. There are so many different circumstances that you could be “in the middle of.” I may have not named it but your circumstance matters too.
Sis, I hear you. I see you. I feel you. I know what it’s like to be “in the middle.” As I write this, I sit with tears knowing how painful it can be. I know how it can feel like forever waiting to see the middle come to an end. It can be incredibly frustrating, disappointing, draining, and filled with tons of highs and lows. But I want to gently remind you that God sees you. He heard you. He heard your prayers and he felt your tears. Second, I want to encourage you to keep the faith. I know it’s hard. I know it’s the LAST thing we want to hear “in the middle” but it’s true. It's so so true, friend.
When I think about “the middle,” I think of a woman named Hannah in the Bible. (Her story is found in 1 Samuel 1.) Let’s take a look at what she did, “In the middle.”
For a brief background, Hannah was married to Elkanah. He also had another wife named, Peninah (Polygamy was real back in the day.). Peninah was able to have kids but Hannah could not. Peninah taunted Hannah over this. For years, Hannah prayed for one child while she watched Peninah have several children. Hannah was devastated. She poured her heart out to God one day after praying for YEARS. 1 Samuel 1:10 mentioned that Hannah was in “deep anguish” and “wept bitterly" after praying for a child over and over and over again.
Hannah basically said that if God heard her and answered her prayer, she would make sure that this child would honor God all of his life. Sis, God heard her prayers!!! He didn’t just hear her prayers, he answered them!!! MY FAVORITE part is in 1 Samuel 1:19-20—“When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” And guess what sis, God didn't stop there! He answered her prayer 5 times over. Hannah went on to have 5 MORE children. (1 Samuel 2:21)
I shared that story to say, just like God heard Hannah’s prayer, he hears yours. Just like God remembered Hannah, he remembers you. No matter the amount of time that has passed. God hasn’t forgotten about you “in the middle.” My prayer is that God continues to show you signs that he is with you every step of the way. That was my constant prayer “in the middle” and that STILL is a consistent prayer for me in this new “middle.” Just so you know, that prayer may be messy. You may feel broken and frustrated when you pray for God to show up. You may even be ugly crying but pray it in faith, sis. And when you don't have the words to say, your tears speak for themselves. God hears your heart.
Another thing to remember “in the middle” is that faith is NOT a feeling. You can have faith and not feel it at first. I wrestled with that for so long but when I truly realized this, it released so much pressure for me. We’re not going to always FEEL like having faith. Faith is a CHOICE. It is making a decision to take God at his word. No matter what it looks like. No matter how it feels. And no matter how long. This is why it is possible for us to have constant faith "in the middle" even when our emotions are similar to a whole rollercoaster in a theme park. Faith doesn’t always FEEL pretty. That's okay. And that's normal. Faith is a choice so it doesn’t consult our feelings for validation. Faith doesn’t ignore our feelings. It acknowledges our feelings but looks to God for the final say. It says, "I don't know what you're up to, God. I don't like it and I don't understand it but I am choosing to trust you."
I read this quote and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me—“We as Christians often want to FEEL our way into faith. We are waiting to feel first, and THEN trust. But this is out of order. Feelings COME AFTER faith, NOT before. There's fact, faith, and feelings. They come in this order and the order is essential. We walk by faith and our feelings will be pulled into alignment. How can we say Abraham was unwavering in his faith when we read verses where he literally laughs in his heart? He also questioned--how was God’s word going to come true given their circumstance? But notice that Abraham didn’t doubt that God’s word was untrue. He did FEEL that things weren't lined up properly to make what God said happen. Notice in Genesis 17:17, it states, “in his heart.” Abraham believed God but his heart FELT differently, and that’s okay.”
Whew so powerful! Our job is to choose faith and our feelings will catch up later. The same article went on to say, “Faith then is not a feeling but rather something that can be present regardless of how we feel. We can find this to be true even with Jesus. In Matthew 26:38-39, Jesus said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not as I will but as you will.” Jesus was so emotionally distraught that he sweated to the point of sweating blood. Jesus was in agony in that moment and had real feelings but he kept trusting God DESPITE his feelings. He chose faith. He operated in faith even when his feelings were not in alignment.” The same is true for us, sis. (Article quoted and used: https://graceprovoked.org/index.php/study-series/what-is-faith/faith-is-not-a-feeling)
One of the greatest lessons I am learning is that our feelings are not meant to be our decision maker, they’re meant to be our guide. God created us emotional beings so we are supposed to feel. God himself has feelings so there’s nothing wrong with them. We just have to be careful with letting them run our lives and make our decisions. Remember sis, faith first and feelings come second.
With everything that was said in this blog, I hope that we can walk away with a better understanding that faith is NOT a feeling and that we can have faith DESPITE the worst of feelings. That’s good news for us “in the middle” of it. We won’t always FEEL like God is with us “in the middle” but he really is, sis. So don’t give up! And please know that you may be in the middle now, but with any good story, there is an ending in sight!
Praying for you always.
P.S. Here are a few amazing blogs, articles, and other resources:
Listen to the song, “In the Middle” By Isaac Carree