A few years back, the kiddos and I took off to New Mexico to spend some much needed time with Dustin. He’d been out of town working for several weeks and I couldn’t take it another second so we set off on our long eighteen-hour drive to visit daddy for a few days. When we finally arrived, there wasn’t much to do, so we ventured out in search of some fun. Our search led us to the famous Carlsbad Caverns.
Arriving at the Caverns, we were anxious to get down in the cave and to see all its wonder, so we chose the elevator. It was the quickest and easiest way to get down into the cave. When arriving at the bottom we spent time looking around and enjoying the beauty that was happening so far beneath the earth’s surface. We loaded up on pictures and decided we’d better head to the elevator line so they didn’t close the caverns on us, causing us to sleep with the bats. Unfortunately, when we returned back to the elevators, the line had grown to a two-hour waiting list. With three kids, ages eight, six, and four, we knew a two-hour wait was not going to work. So we decided we’d take the 1.25-mile trail back out. I mean, how bad could it possibly be? Well, it was awful, like the worst idea ever in the history of awful ideas.
Just so you can get a glimpse of the kind of trail I’m talking about, nps.gov compared it to hiking up a 75-story building. It was extremely steep, and warning signs urged those with heart, back, and respiratory conditions to take the elevator.
So theoretically, we hiked up a seventy-five story building, with three kids and one extremely out of shape Momma. At one point, in the middle of the climb, I was sprawled out on the trail floor just trying to catch my breath. Strangers walking around me and my sweet husband and brother in law laughing at me. Thankfully after about an hour and a half and lots of breaks, we arrived at the gate. We had finally made it to the top! I wondered so many times in the middle of that climb if I would ever make it to the top, was there even a finish line to find? The middle is a hard place to be and a hard place to keep perspective.
I’ve often written about the process, how challenging the process can be, and how important it is to keep pushing forward and to grow through. The thought of growing through things is an encouraging thought, but how do I keep pushing forward in the middle of the process with no end in sight? How do I keep moving forward when I feel alone and sometimes even feeling abandoned by God? It’s easy to see and believe He’s in the vision, the promise, the first step of faith, that He’s there in the promised land when we’ve finished the race. It’s easy to see and believe He’s in the beginning and that He’s in the end, but why do I struggle, we struggle, to believe He’s in the middle?
The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:17
When I first read this passage it caught me, it encouraged me, God gently nudged my heart and reminded me He’s in the middle. It may not always feel like it or look like it, but He’s here, right in the middle of my mess, my calling, my chaos, and my journey to the promise. And He’ll stay here as long as it takes for you, and for me to get where He’s sending us.
God doesn’t call us and then abandon us, He goes before us, making a way, a perfect way. So If you are feeling alone, rejected and abandoned, maybe it’s time to fix your focus. The middle can be scary and uncomfortable, just as it was for the Israelites when facing the flooded Jordan River. And it’s so easy to fix our focus on the flood rather than the Father, but He is here, right in the middle and He is making a way. Don’t lose sight of the promise, fix your focus.
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8