“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11
Somewhere in the middle…
I realize that this, the third newsletter of 2008, will also be the third newsletter for which I have based my commentary on a song. I have struggled with trying to come up with some other thought or concept to wrap my words around, but in so doing, have been unsuccessful. You see, although I am not in any way musically inclined (i.e., the only safe place for me to sing is in the shower), God speaks to me quite often through song, second only to Scripture. In addition, last week’s video teaching of Beth Moore’s Stepping Up Bible study has helped me justify writing to you yet again about the message of a song. Not coincidentally, the whole session was on the significance of song! May I share with you just a few things I learned?
Did you know that song originated with God and accompanied creation? (Job 38:7). In Scripture, singing is attributed to both God the Father (Zeph. 3:17) and Christ the Son (Matt. 26:30). Emotions and experiences can be expressed through song in ways spoken words can never satisfy (Psalm 13, Job 35:10, Hos. 2:14-15). Song is the fluent language of the soul, helping us to express something that we might not otherwise be able to. So, with my case made and supported by none other than God’s Word, I will attempt to express some thoughts I’ve had after hearing a particular song by the contemporary Christian group Casting Crowns. The song is called “Somewhere in the Middle,” and it expresses the sadness of knowing we’re not where we should be with God and the resulting numbness that settles into our souls, which can at times feel paralyzing. As usual, I can relate on both professional and personal levels.
The central theme of the song is exactly what the title suggests: We often find ourselves stuck somewhere in the middle. Somewhere between wrong and right. Somewhere between darkness and light. Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more. It’s very similar to the Israelites in the wilderness. They longed to see the Promised Land, yet didn’t want to let go of Egypt. The problem for them is the same one we struggle with today: we don’t trust God. In the deepest part of our hearts, we don’t believe that His plan is really good. Like the Israelites, unbelief in God’s good and perfect plan for us leads to rebellion—we refuse to submit to what we know is His way (Heb. 4, 1 Cor. 10:1-13). Again, I see this in my own life and in the lives of the women I counsel.
For example, one woman seeks the restoration of her marriage, yet doesn’t want to let go of the affections of other men. Another woman refuses to address her addiction to alcohol, although she admits that she drinks alcoholically. And her husband, out of fear, refuses to set boundaries, deal with the proverbial “elephant in the room,” and seek support from Al-Anon (a program for families of alcoholics). Instead, the two keep dancing the same unhealthy dance, wondering why nothing changes.
Another woman is caught somewhere in the middle as she looks forward to a life of health and happiness but has difficulty letting go of the “control” of starving herself. Another young woman commits every morning to remain pure in thought and action, yet by nightfall has clicked on another illicit website. For me, the “middle” often lands on my struggle with singleness. In all my life, it never occurred to me that I would remain unmarried at 40. (And, unless I meet and marry my husband in the next six months — which would not be a healthy decision — I will be 41 and still single!) So, being somewhere in the middle means I occasionally find myself wanting to “assist” God in the process… knowing a man is wrong for me but wanting to make him “right.” Knowing I should be still and wait, but wanting to rush ahead into a relationship because, well…I’m 40!!
And so, what about you? Do you find yourself, as the writer of this song asks, wrestling with the God you want and the God who is? Will you trade your dreams for His? Or will you remain caught… somewhere in the middle?
“Somewhere in the Middle” written by Mark Hall, ©2007 My Refuge Music/Club Zoo Music/SWECS Music (BMI) (admin. By EMI CMG Publishing).