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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Monkey in the middle...

Do you remember the childhood game "Monkey in the Middle"? I think it was also called "Keep away". In any case, it was an interesting game which required at least 3 people to play. Two people would toss an object back and forth over the head of the third person who stood in the middle. The idea behind the game was to keep the object away from the person in the middle for as long as possible. If they did manage to catch it, they would earn the privilege of being on the outside, while the person who threw the object became the new "monkey". Kind of a cruel game, if you ask me.

It's not much different in our adult lives. It seems like we are always in a constant game of "Monkey in the Middle"... always striving for something that is just out of our reach... just beyond our control. Something that we want, and more importantly, something that someone (or seemingly everyone) else has. Money, success, prestige, approval, the list goes on, and on, and on... Lately, for me, it seems to be peace. Peace in my day. Peace with myself. Peace with others. Peace in the midst of my circumstances. Like the childhood game, there are those who surround me, "tossing" the object I am trying to catch. For some reason, it feels like I am perpetually stuck in the middle of everything I do and every relationship I have. I don't understand why, but every role in my life is "in the middle". As difficulties mount, it seems to be harder to find that peace, and even harder to hold on to it. It makes me wonder what God wants me to learn from being in the middle. Why has He put me here? Why does He keep me here? What does He want me to learn from being here? What gift has He given me to help others while I am here? Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. But God has put me where I am for a specific purpose, in a specific place, to accomplish a specific task, for a specific time. I haven't always realized it, but over time, it has become increasingly evident to me.

So, what is a person to do? Play the game? Right now, I'm rather tired of playing the game. Or should I, perhaps, just stand still? There are those who have played the game before me. Struggling in the middle. Standing still in the middle. Making a difference in the middle. Moses comes to mind. He was in the middle from the very beginning.... the middle of the reeds, the middle of his family, the middle of the sea, the middle of the desert, the middle of the people and their problems, the middle of a nation and its rulers. Was he successful? Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes he got angry or tired or discouraged. Sometimes, he doubted his ability to accomplish the task. But he also knew God. He saw God's hand and purpose throughout his life and his struggles. Through success and failure, He was privileged to be used by God to accomplish those purposes.

There is the ultimate example of One who willingly exists in the middle. He freely left His rightful home to come to the middle ~ to bridge the gap between the punishment we deserve and the riches we could never earn. Through every trial, pain, or sorrow. Through every success, pleasure, and joy. He lives to BE the middle for us. He was, He is, and He always will be. The Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. The First and the Last... "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). As He said to Moses, "I AM".

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