Living in the Middle
The silhouette of my tiny granddaughter, Aria, toddling down the hallway left a permanent stamp in my head. The Fourth of July, she wore her stars and stripes dress. Her hair, just long enough for a two inch ponytail, bobbed up and down. And with one of her feet turning slightly inward, her trot down that corridor lent the appearance of her feet never touching ground.
I said to my friend, “I love that baby.” But there was more in my heart, and it tumbled out. “I have compassion for that baby.”
You see my friends; life’s been tough for Aria, her parents are blind, and there are three other children under the age of five—including a newborn. Aria has struggled with frequent periods of sickness and with gaining and maintaining weight.
Do you know that love is a road for compassion?
The ultimate Lover of the Soul plants true compassion in the human heart. The same compassion that led me to adopt my children took me down a road of all consuming love for each of them.
Yesterday, I sat with my head in my hands over my open Bible. Exhaustion and heartache had taken their toll. Knotty problems in my life surrounding more than one of my children choked me like a tangled cluster of fine chains. Ever tried to disentangle a mess like that? The tears streamed my face and all that would come out was, “Your mercies are new every morning… Your mercies are new every morning… Your mercies are new every morning…”
I had no answers. A heavy blanket called exhaustion weighted my shoulders. But then, I heard His Whisper. “Ann, you are my child, and I have compassion for you.”
Wait a minute. I’m the adult. I’m the one that’s supposed to hold it together around here. Always choose to do the right thing. Bear up under burdens. “Oh Lord… I’m so weary of adulting…”
“Ann… Ann… You’re my daughter. I have compassion for you.”
Had He not formed me from dust? Was He not my greatest sympathizer having suffered for me?
And I got it. I could fall into His arms and just be the child. Do you know His compassions fail not? They are new every morning… New every morning… New every morning…
By noon some of the tangled chains unwound themselves in ways I never expected. One son left home. And, God’s peace and presence held me throughout the turmoil.
When I recently spoke to a group of women I told them a story another friend had related to me. A precious Christian lady had a baby son. When this son reached the age of two, she learned she could not biologically have another child. She said to her husband, “I don’t think I’ve finished mothering.” This led them to adopt another child—another boy. From the start this child was a challenge. Everything these Godly parents stood for, he rejected. He rejected their instruction, their faith, their love…”
And I said to the ladies what God spoke to me about hearing this story. “Adoption doesn’t always have a perfect ending in the middle. In the middle (and this can apply to biological children or any knotty problem we face) we are dealing with people, and people are messy. When God the Father adopts us, do we have it all together? Aren’t we all born orphans—on the run from Him? But His arms are open to the one broken, rejected, unable to give or receive love. His arms are stretched wide with grace to embrace. Until Jesus comes back, we will always find ourselves in the middle.”
This morning as I dropped my three granddaughters at daycare and drove the country highway back toward town, I had vision of myself sitting in the middle of that road. This is a straight, low-lying highway for quite a few miles, and often because of its proximity to the river, its hazy and low cloud cover obscures the hills where Arkadelphia sits higher.
Today? No fog. In my mind’s eye, I sat in the middle of the road and could see higher ground. God spoke to my heart. “I am the higher ground. And as a believer, you cannot trust what you cannot see while you’re living in the middle.”
The take away? Aria’s a baby. She lives in the moment. Her needs are simple. Those of us who love and cherish her (her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) are going to take care of her, while she’s too young to fathom a future. Aren’t we the same to our Father? Will He not meet us in the middle, love and cherish us through the journey and its struggles, lead us by His Holy Spirit, love us with undying compassion, meet our needs though the future is shrouded?
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:22-26 NKJ
Listen for His Whispers