The Middle of the Story
“But I suppose it is often that way. The brave things in old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures as I used to call them…. But I expect that they had lots of chances like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. …”Sam tells Frodo shortly before they enter Shelob’s lair in the novel, The Lord of the Rings.
Frodo replies, “And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to…….You and I, Sam are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: ‘Shut the book now, dad; we don’t want to read anymore.’
As the boys and I have read the Bible this year as part of our Ancient History class, I kept thinking about what it would have been like to be in the middle of the old stories: Moses going to Pharaoh, knowing he had been sent by God, and Pharaoh not only NOT letting the Israelites go, but making life more miserable for them than before. Having to go back to Pharaoh again and again and wondering each time if this would this be the time the people would be allowed to leave. Think about David running for his life before Saul. We know the end of that story, but many of the Psalms describe David’s feelings of hopelessness in the middle of his story. What about Nehemiah trying to rebuild the temple? I wonder how he felt when he surveyed the broken walls for the first time. What about when half the people had to stop building to stand attired for battle, ready if their enemies should attack them? What about when he discovered how badly the Jews were treating each other? (Neh 5) Or the familiar story of Mary. We have read it so many times we forget the stares, whispers and condemnation Mary felt in the middle of the story of Jesus’ birth. We gloss over them because we know the end of the story.
I’ve also thought about the middle of the story as we have studied some of the great missionaries and people in history. We know the end of Eric Liddell’s story, but how did he feel when he did what was right and was being viciously criticized in the press and was not even allowed to run in his best race? And what was he thinking when he was doing what God told him to do, ministering to the people of China and ended up in a Japanese concentration camp? Consider William Wilberforce of the recent Amazing Grace movie. It took him over 20 years to succeed in abolishing slavery. I think I would have given up the cause way before the 20 year mark!! All of these people had chances to turn back in the middle of their stories.
I suppose our marriages are little stories in the great scheme of things, yet how many times has God used the weak or the small to do great things for His glory? Don’t forget who is in charge of our story. Don’t give up in the middle.
Last edited by Marta; 06/14/13 03:05 PM.