We all love stories with a happy ending, don’t we? Stories of healing, victory, freedom and breakthrough…
Because these are the ‘good’ stories which we like to tell over and over, the ones that lend us courage to continue and serve to strengthen our faith.
Have you noticed how no one ever says that the middle part in a film trilogy is their favourite, and no one ever really talks about what happens in the middle part of a book they’re reading either? It’s all about having a strong beginning and end.
But the truth is that most of our live actually take place ‘in the middle’ part; in the grey and the uncertain, the unresolved and the unknown, somewhere between the starting point and the end. So surely the middle part of our own individual stories could at least be worthy of a bit more attention?
Part of my current story revolves around miscarriage and battling to have a second child.
And if you’d asked me a year and a half ago, I’d have told you that I de expected a much quicker, more conclusive resolution to this particular narrative in my life.
But fast-forward almost 18 months on to the here and now, and the happy ending that I keep hoping for still hasn’t materialised…
In fact, the truth is that right now our happy ending looks more elusive and out of reach than I could have ever possibly imagined back at the beginning.
But why is it that we don’t tend to honour the messy, incomplete, muddled up stories about being ‘in the middle’, as much as the nice, tidy, neatly resolved, faith-inspiring ones?
It’s as though we’ve learned to self-censor, edit, and leave the harder stories untold, just because they sometimes raise difficult questions about faith or are more uncomfortable to hear.
But surely God is also in the midst of those hard, messy, and still yet-to-be-concluded stories about our lives as well?
And although they may not always get the most attention or the loudest of applause, personally I think that these are actually the stories that really need to be heard. Because often these are the really inspiring stories of how He is working in our lives.
And I absolutely get why people tend to want to skip over the middle and get to the end quicker – it’s the filler, the detail, the inbetween bit, before the exciting finale.
But actually, that’s not all it is…
The middle is also about the character development, and plot development, and it’s the part that enables the remaining narrative to unfold. It’s the glue that holds everything together.
And without a middle part, there simply is no end. In fact, there is no story at all.
This last period of my life has been unexpected and uncertain in equal measures. But right in the middle of all the loss and disappointment we’ve faced, the subtext is that God has been healing my heart, restoring some dreams, and reordering my life to look a bit more dependent and centred on Him.
And it’s certainly not been a middle part that I would have chosen to include in my story. My version would almost certainly have been wrapped up much quicker, after a miraculous and rapidly appearing answer to prayer.
But despite this, I am still trusting the author of life to pen the very best version of the story, and that it will be far better than any version I could write for myself.
And even though we still don’t know how the ending of this particular story will look just yet, we have felt the living God drawing close to us in our pain, which is a miracle right in the middle of the story.
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