THE MESSY MIDDLE
Dan O’Deens / June 2022
The phrase ‘messy middle’ is a bit trendy these days, but it honestly reflects real life . The honeymoon is glorious…the golden years are bliss (except for the reality of the aging process), but the ‘middle’…it is so messy!
If you know me, then you know my number is ‘37’. Psalm 37 is so rich. In it are nuggets of wisdom: ‘trust God and do Good’; ‘delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart’; ‘be still and wait patiently for him’.
Those are all amazing thoughts! But in verse 13 it says, ‘the Lord laughs at the wicked (who live and thrive in the messy middle), for he knows their day is coming. Verse 24 says, ‘though the ones who delight in the Lord stumble (in the messy middle), they will not fall, for the Lord holds them up.’
‘Turn from evil and do good.’ That is a ‘both / and’ proposition. Turn from evil (that does not mean condemn it for that response is in the hand of the Lord… ‘vengeance is mine, says the Lord’; AND…DO GOOD! Today is a good day to do good….TODAY…in the messy middle. There was the cross and the empty grave and one day The Lord will return…but what about the middle…the often very ‘messy middle?’
Verse 39…The Lord is for us…He is our savior. He is our stronghold in times of trouble and difficulty (that is the messy middle that we live in), and He delivers us from wickedness WHEN we take REFUGE in HIM!
Consider the biblical metaphors of the messy middle. Grapes must be crushed to make wine. Diamonds are formed under extreme pressure. Olives are pressed in order for them to produce fine oil. Seeds grow in darkness.
When you are feeling crushed, under pressure or isolated in the darkness, it is there (in the ‘messy middle’ that you are in the most powerful place of transformation and redemption. It is in this place we take refuge and place our complete trust in the one who holds it all together.
Verse 3. Trust God and Do Good! That is our hope in the Messy Middle. Lord Jesus…thank you for allowing me to experience the messy middle. I am a ‘messy’ person. I am the chief of all sinners. And yet it is there in my messy middle that you love me still. Help me to love as you love. Help me to trust you. Help me to do good to others.