The Mess in the Middle
Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a difficult circumstance. Not at the beginning. Not near the end, but smack dab in the middle. It’s good to know that God helps makes sense out of our mess in the middle.
Hello everyone. My name is Pastor roderick caesar the third on the lead pastor of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Jamaica queens new york. And my prayer is that you would be blessed. You would be encouraged and strengthened by this word. Hope you enjoy God bless! Hey, praise the Lord everyone. It’s Pastor Roderick here. I’m so excited to be sharing this word with you on this beautiful sunday. Uh, today we’re gonna be talking about the mess in the middle, the mess in the middle. I’m coming from the book of Mark, chapter four, Mark, Chapter four, verses 35-41 Mark, Chapter four, verses 35 through 41. The text, the text reads on that day when evening had come, he said to them, let us go across to the other side and leaving the crowd. They took him with them in the boat just as he was. And the other boats were with him and the great windstorm arose and the waves were breaking into the boat so that the boat was already filling. But then, but he was in the stern asleep on the cushion. And they awoke him and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea. Peace be still and the wind deceased. And there was a great calm, he said to them, why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, Who then is this that even the wind and the sea obey him. The mess in the middle. Dear God, I thank you so much for this time. I thank you for this word. I thank you for your people. I pray Lord that as I speak, you would be seen heard and felt do what only you can do. Meet someone in their middle right now. We thank you, we give you glory, We praise you. We ask these things in jesus name and everybody said Amen, Amen and a man. Uh the middle is a, is a, is a difficult and messy time sometimes for for different people in different situations and circumstances. If you’re driving some where you have a start and often if you don’t make it to your destination immediately, something can come up in the middle of your commute in the middle of your drive. You either get lost or perhaps into an accident. God forbid or something takes place in the middle of your commute. Uh, sometimes if you realize, you know, we have to uh, brush our teeth and we use toothbrush and toothpaste to do that because if we don’t stay on top of our hygiene, uh, people can see and smell the mess that’s in the middle, write your brain is in between your two ears and in your head and that’s what in the middle, there’s so much going on up here. Uh, Oftentimes what we realize is it’s in the middle. If you stop and think about it, that life uh, is conceived and it’s in the middle, that life actually begins and it’s in the middle, that life is pushed out and into the world, right in the middle. If you look in in scripture, the first thing that Adam and Eve did was take what fig leaves to cover their nakedness in the middle. There’s something called the middle child syndrome, right? If a child is uh neglected because the older is taken care of in the middle and the younger one comes out of nowhere. Boom. And so you have the middle child that’s kind of left in between and there’s something called the middle child syndrome. They’ll tend to act out or feel a certain way as a result of this. We see that another example is puberty, right? Because you see a child is born and puberty takes place in between birth and this child being fully and an adult. And it’s a weird awkward stage. It’s messy. There’s a mess in the middle where you’re trying to know who you are. But then also everything is changing so rapidly, Right? And so there’s a mess in the middle and make no mistake. Saints of God, people watching, make no mistake that right now we are in the middle of something major, so major that you could stop and think, okay, well, you know, be cement before christ but now does it mean BC before corona because things could change so differently if you think of where you were before this thing took place before coronavirus hit before our lives were turned upside down and we were thrust into the mess of this middle. We know where the beginning was. But right now we’re still working towards the end, which means we are still in the middle and often we look at the journeys we take in life and realize that life is a difficult journey and it’s often times in the middle of it that things can get very, very messy. There’s so much that happens in our lives and it’s often at the end of our lives when others are looking down and perhaps our tombstone, we realize how much takes place in the middle of that dash, right, you have your birthday and then the year your birth, year and then the year that you pass and in the middle there’s a dash. That dash is loaded with information, is loaded with years of life loaded with highs and lows heartbreak and disaster or wonderful things that took place in your life. You never really know, but there’s so much there that there’s a mess in the middle. And so what we see here in the text in Mark Chapter four verses 35-41, the text drops us right in the middle of their journey, the disciples before they left. The first side, jesus tells them some parables, he’s pouring into them and teaching them and uh he’s telling them parables about the word falling on good soil. Parables about the kingdom of God, Pareles about parables about their world, their role, Excuse me in what’s taking place and we see that so amazing because right before jesus says let’s go to the other side. What we realize is that the disciples are being encouraged, the disciples are being strengthened, the disciples are being poured into and it’s incredible how you can be spoken into life can be spoken into you and then you can get hit with some mess in the middle that tests everything you just heard, right? You can be encouraged, you can be motivated, you can be pushed, you can say okay, I got this, I’m good, I’m ready to go. You walk right into it and in the middle boom, you get hit with something that tests everything you just heard. That’s why it’s important to persevere through trial. That’s why it’s important to hold to what you heard and have that push you as you go through and in order for them to get to the other side, God had to put them in the middle of the water, in the middle of two masses of land in the middle and they found themselves in the middle of the water, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of the water in the middle of the storm and in this storm, they feared for their lives in this storm, they feared for their lives now, these were not men that were unacquainted with the water. These were fishermen, individuals that knew the sea that we’re familiar with the water. And yet they feared for their lives. They were accustomed to storms. But yet this was something different. This was something painful. This was something that caused them to fear. But in the midst of their fear, Jesus did not leave them in the midst of their fear, Jesus was still with them in the midst of their fear. God said, look, I’m before you, I’m behind you, I’m not gonna leave you, I’m not going to forsake you. Deuteronomy 31 8, it is the Lord who goes before you, he will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. So do not be dismayed. God is with us in our storm. God is with us in the midst of the pain that we’re feeling as a result of this virus that has turned our world upside down. God is with us when we are unsure, God is with us when we need comfort, God is with us. When we are in distress and fear, they cried for help. And what did jesus do, jesus save them? I said last week that when you cry out or praying something, God will either do one of two things, so either take you out and relieve you of your distress or he’ll give you the grace to go through it. In this circumstance, in this situation, God relieve them from their distress, he wiped the sleep out of his eye, the crust out of his high I and spoke to the winds and the waves and the winds and the waves says, I know this voice, I have to obey. I know this voice, I have to stop raging. Right? This is the voice of the one that said, let there be. And there was this is the master speaking, the creator speaking so I must Oh bay! They cried for help and jesus saved them as only he can do. But he led them to the middle, in the middle. There’s this storm in the middle, there was this challenge in the middle. There was this fight, this wrestling. And what we realize is uh this wrestling is all a part of the christian life. If you are born, then you you realize that in life you’re going to go through some things in life, you’re gonna go through some pain in life. You’re gonna go through through some struggles. No one is exempt to pain. No one is exempt from struggle, but the bible lets us know how to go through it. And second Corinthians chapter 10 verse four, it says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God and have the divine power to destroy strongholds. Second Corinthians for uh 18 says, we look not to the things that are seen because the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal. And then in second Corinthians 12 9, the Lord says to Paul, my grace is sufficient for you. My power and my strength is made perfect in your weakness. So as Christians as believers, we go through our middle seasons through our painful seasons differently. We go through our middle seasons knowing that God is with us and he’s not going to leave us knowing that the weapons of our warfare are different, knowing that we fight differently. We walk by faith and not by sight. So when you’re challenged and when you begin to question and you don’t understand the middle seasons, you realize that the middle seasons are for you. So you can be strengthened there for you. So you can be uh draw closer to God in the midst of them, not run from God. And often we haven’t flipped. When the difficult seasons come, we use that to say, God doesn’t care when the difficult seasons comes, we say, oh God, how could you when the difficult seasons come? We say, oh God, if you really love me, this wouldn’t happen to me. So we run from God often times. But in the middle seasons, that’s when we’re supposed to draw in closer, that’s when we’re supposed to draw in closer to the heart of God and understand that he’s keeping us and with us in the midst of our storm. What we see from this text is that in your middle and your middle season you will be measured. In your middle season, you will be measured. The middle tells you where you are. It tells you where you are, you’re gonna be measured. It’s going to let you know exactly look, this is where you are. These are your measurements. This is how this works. This is you. It shows you you it’s a mirror that holds yourself up to you so you can see, okay, this is this is how I look. These are These are my measurements. The middle measures, you it tells you where you are in thought and indeed it reveals character. It reveals things about you. It shows you what’s in you, it shows you your strengths and your weaknesses. It tells you how you are, how you’re wired in times of adversity. There’s when you’re afraid, there’s something called the fight or flight response, right? Well, you have fear. Oftentimes it’s sometimes it’s it’s fight flight or freeze immediately. Your gut reaction is either no, I’m going to stand up to fight this thing or no, no, I’m gonna run away. I’m gonna be fearful. Or sometimes you freeze because you don’t know what to do once the adrenaline kicks in and it shows you sometimes the middle shows you what’s in you shows you what areas are weak and needs to be developed, shows you what areas are strong and the things that you can rely and lean on. And it shows you your heart Shows you your heart. The book of Jeremiah 17 says the heart is deceitful, above all things, and desperately and desperately wicked, who can understand it? And oftentimes we think some way about ourselves, we think one way about ourselves. What is that? The truth is that the true way that we should be thinking about ourselves. But sometimes it takes a storm or it takes the situation for us to realize that our heart has been lying towards this whole time. But it says, who can understand it? And then the Lord speaks in the text and he says, I the Lord, I search the heart. I test the mind to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. And oftentimes the mind and heart is tested in the middle. David wrote in psalm 1 39. Search me O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me. And if so, lead me in the way everlasting. I love that prayer because it shows the vulnerability of David the openness of David saying, God, look, try me, try me right, uh test me right? Put me through the fire. Put me through something because it’s gonna show me what’s in me. And if there’s any wickedness in me, anything in me that’s not like you, anything in me that causes you grief. anything in me that causes you pain. God! Then don’t leave me there, But lead me in the way everlasting. Don’t leave me. Leave me. Don’t leave me! Leave me. You see so many of us sometimes, especially in these middle seasons, these storms. We want to be left left alone, left in our wickedness, left to our own choices, left to our own devices. But David says, don’t leave. Don’t leave me there! Leave me out of it. Lead me out of it, and lead me into your righteousness, into the way everlasting. So your middle will measure you and your middle. You will be measured secondly in your middle, you will be made, you will be made diamonds! Don’t get forged in the fields of flowers, right, you don’t. Nobody got a diamond out of out of rubbing some flowers over Iraq. They get forged in the furnaces of fire, in the furnaces of difficulty. Now, God doesn’t leave you in the furnace. But if you let the experience or the furnace happen, then it will shape you. Then it will make you. Then it will mold you, Then it will change you. And oftentimes what we want to do is, oh, my gosh! The heat got turned up! Help! Help! Get me out! Get me out of here! Get me out of here. Help get me out. Help! I’m in pain! Get me out out out. But oftentimes there are some things that we need to go through to strip ourselves of the things that we feel make us us that God says, look, I know this is something that’s been with you forever. I know this is something that you don’t think you could live without. I know this is something that you know has comforted you for so long, but I’m calling you to a higher standard. I’m calling you to a deeper level of intimacy with me. I’m calling you to growth and often what we think of his growth as I need to add this skill. I need to add this asset. I need to add this. I need to add that. But often growth is shedding yourself of the very thing that’s been holding you back of the very thing that’s been restraining. You have the very thing that has kept you from a living more fully in the image of God as you were called to live and so the furnace molds us, it shapes us. That’s why James could write in James chapter one verse two and four, Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. Let steadfastness have what have its full effect, full effect. That you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. The amazing thing about this is like I said, we want to get out of the fire before we’re fully forged. We want to stop the struggle before we glean what we need to glean from it. And my father once told me the story about ah this kid who’s walking by a butterfly that’s struggling trying to get out of the cocoon and he’s trying to move his way out of out of the cocoon and he’s trying to get his way out of there and this kid comes through as a little pocket knife and says oh that’s sad, let me try and help him. And so what he does is he just draws a little slit right down the middle of the cocoon and the butterfly falls out, flies for a little bit, flutters for a little bit and dies. Why is this because the butterfly, when it’s when the caterpillar morphs into the butterfly and is now making its way out of the cocoon, its struggle in getting out is massaging the wings and strengthening the wings and giving the wings what it needs to actually fly for the time that it’s actually alive and out of the cocoon. And every time that you you help the butterfly or give it some sort of assistance and it makes it out, it dies before, before its its wings actually have time to be strengthened and often times you want the easy way out, we want the easy route out. But God says no if you struggle through in the middle, you’ll be strong enough to endure what’s on the other side, you’ll be strong enough to fly and do what I’ve called you to do on the other side First Peter 1 6 and seven says in this, you rejoice though for a little while if necessary. You have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold. That perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of jesus christ. So we grieve for a little while. Yes, we go through various trials. Yes, we go through various struggles. Yes, but our faith is now more precious than gold because it has been tested and it has been proven to be genuine and we can give praise to God as a result of that is through difficult times. It is the difficult times that God uses to prove us. It’s the difficult times that God uses to make us more like him. So in your middle, you will be measured in your middle, you will be made thirdly in your middle, you will be moved, you will be moved. Its momentum that motivates you, its momentum that moves you. But the direction is up to you. Oftentimes when we’re stressed, we can run to various things. Run two things that perhaps we let go years ago. Run two things that perhaps aren’t good for us or in our stress, we can run two things that will help us improve. Run two things that can make us better. So either where you’re being moved in your middle, you will be moved. The question is which direction in your middle? You will be moved. The question is which direction will you be moved in? Its momentum that motivates it’s the momentum that that pushes you to move. Will you move backwards or forwards? I’m going to look at at a peter for for an example, when jesus said, peter said to jesus, I’m not gonna betray you, I’m not gonna deny you, I’m gonna go with you to the cross, jesus says in his response, Peter, you don’t know what you’re talking about before the Rooster Crows, you’re gonna deny me three times, Peter in the midst of his middle, in the middle of his denial, denies, denies denies. The pressure gets turned up and he runs away from the Lord. He goes back fishing, goes back to what jesus called him away from then he sees the Lord again. The Lord meets him in his new middle in the middle of him fishing, he meets the Lord again and the Lord pushes him in a new direction and says, I’m going to give you not too far from now. The holy spirit and the trajectory of his life and the lives of those around him are changed as a result of God meeting him in the middle. So just because you’ve messed up in the middle before, it doesn’t mean that God can’t meet you in your middle again and give you a new hope, a new name, a new direction, a shift, so you can be able to glorify him and move in the direction that he has called you to move in, God’s called us to move, paul writes in Philippians chapter three, not that I have already obtained or am I or I am already perfected, but I press on to make it my own because christ has made me his own, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in christ, jesus paul writes, we press on, we move forward in the middle, we move forward, the middle moves us. So what I realized in this text is that Jesus gives the disciples, gives the apostles a gift, he lets them know we’re going to the other side, we’re going to the other side, let us go to the other side, that’s where we’re going, he lets them know, look, we’re going to the other side, but he doesn’t let them know what’s in the middle and oftentimes God will give you a direction or where to go meet me here, let’s meet up here, let’s link up here right many times, we have an end destination, it’s the same thing as you know if if you’re trying to get somewhere or meet at a specific point with someone, they’ll say look let’s meet here at this point at this time, you’ll say alright cool, let’s go. But most times they don’t necessarily say okay, what route are you taking? Your gonna go across this bridge, you’re gonna go across this route, you’re gonna take this highway, what what? Right, I don’t know, they just say let’s meet here and oftentimes there’s many different, many different things that we encounter in our middle, but God says look we are going to the other side, I’m not necessarily letting you know what’s in the middle, but I’m with you, I’m not gonna let you know what’s going on in the middle because if I did you probably wouldn’t even want to get to the other side. If I let you know that what happened, what happened, you wouldn’t want to go with me, but I’m gonna let you know that I’m with you and I’m strengthening you in the midst of what is going on in the midst of what is taking place, I am with you and I’m giving you something to hold on in the middle. When things get crazy, you can hold onto the promises of God, God said let’s go to the other side. God said he’s keeping me in the middle as I go to the other side, I can hold on to the promises of God in my pain, I can hold on to the promises of God in my confusion, I can hold on to the word of God and his word will not return void. His word will come to pass so I can hold on to him in the midst of what I am going through. Many of us are tempted to run from our middle season to bury our head in the sand during difficult times. But we have to get through the middle. We have to get through the middle. We have to get through the middle. Why why do we have to get through the middle? Why do we have to get through the middle? We have to get through the middle because there’s something that is waiting for us on the other side, we have to get through the middle because there is something that is waiting for us on the other side. The middle never really goes how you expect it to, it never goes how you expected to. But there’s something that’s needed from you On the other side, Mark. Chapter Five we see that when they got to the other side, there was someone with an unclean spirit that came that needed deliverance. And jesus was the only one that could deliver this person that could deliver the demons out of this person And get this person free, get this person, he’ll get this person whole. What else was on the other side, a woman with an issue of blood that was bleeding for 12 years. A man whose 12 year old daughter was sick and dying and needed to be uh to be restored. These people needed jesus and they needed him to get to the other side. What this shows us in the text is that people need what you have on the other side. So don’t throw in the towel right in the middle, don’t give up right in the middle, don’t abandon ship right in the middle. What we realize is God can make a miracle out of your mess in the middle. There are some things that are going to be birthed that can only be birthed through this process. There are some things that God wants to birth in you that God has wanted to birth in you for years, that can only be birthed through this process. So don’t despise the mess, don’t despise the mess in the middle. There are people that have been waiting for something that you’re giving birth to right now, that you’re pushing through right now that you’re wrestling through right now, that you feel like running away from right now, but when you stop running from it and submit to the process that God has you in, people will be blessed as a result. You may have shed some tears, but people will be blessed as a result, you may have gone through some agony, but people will be blessed as a result. It’s not just about you, it’s not just about your story, there is, there are people waiting for you. On the other side of your middle. People waiting for you to make it through. God can make a miracle out of your mess in the middle. So as I close it’s in the middle of the storm that jesus showed the winds and the waves. Who has the final say? It’s in the middle of the pit. That through joseph’s life, we see that God had a plan. It’s in the middle of the furnace, that the lives of the three hebrew boys. We see that God was with them in the middle of the furnace, in the middle of the battle. We see that God used a shepherd boy to show the world that giants can still be killed. In the middle of a lion’s den. We see the Lion of Judah showed up in the middle of their hunger, jesus. The christ showed 5000 people that he was in fact the bread of life. And it’s in the middle of two thieves that jesus christ, Our king was crucified. Yeah, it’s in the middle of the father in heaven and the gates of hell that the son of God hung wide. It’s in the middle that he breathed his last and gave up the ghost. It’s it’s it’s in the middle of a tomb that his body was placed. It’s in the middle of a room that he appeared to his disciples and said I am risen. It’s in the middle and today it’s in the middle, to the middle of my palms. He said to thomas in the middle of my side touched them, that I was pierced and see that I was dead. But I now, in fact I live, he did all this. So in the middle of my life a mess can be made into a miracle. He did all this. So in the middle of my pain, my mind can still be kept. He did this so that in the middle of my grief, I can still be comforted. He did this so that in the middle of my accusation from the enemy, I can interrupt him and say, excuse me, I have an advocate that hung in the middle so that I could be set free that hung in the middle so that I could weather this storm. And that told me, let’s go over to the other side. I know that there’s so much we’re facing right now. I know there’s so much pain that we’re going through. There’s so much uncertainty that we’re going through but know that God has not left us alone in the middle to deal with this by ourselves. He is with us in the middle. He’s called us to the other side. He’s giving us what we need. He’s showing us things about ourselves fortifying us and making us stronger as a result. Let us never forget to run to him in the middle. Let us never forget to run to him through the struggle. Let us never forget to run to him through the difficulty. Let us never forget that God was with us in the beginning. God was with us in the end. God is the alpha and the omega. But it does not mean he is not present in the middle. He is in our middle. He is with us in our middle. And as a result of that, we can give him glory. We can give him honor. We can give him praise and we can be encouraged because if God is for us, who can be against us. Amen. Let’s give God some praise. Thank you Lord, Thank you, Jesus. You’re worthy to be praised. You’re worthy to be praised. God, I thank you so much. I thank you for those that are watching right now, that perhaps they’re here. They’re they’re listening and they heard this word and they do not know you as Lord and savior. I pray Lord that as this word has gone forth, that they would just feel free to repeat after me if they want to pray this prayer. Dear God, I thank you for sending your son Jesus to meet me in the middle. For sending your son, jesus to clean up my mess for sending your son, jesus to die and rise and live again so that I could be free so that I could be a whole. So that I could be made new, forgive me of my sins, cleanse me of mine righteousness and make me whole. I thank you, I praise you. I give you glory in jesus name. I pray these things. Amen. Amen and amen if you prayed that prayer, congratulations, you are now a new believer of jesus christ. If you can get your hands on a bible or you can visit our website at B G. T. F. I dot us for more information. Uh There are a lot of different resources uh that we can have for you where you can call our our church office number um and you know we can be able to connect you uh to the vine to jesus. The christ. Hello again. Pastor roderick sees a third here. Thank you so much for watching my prayer is that you were blessed. You are encouraged and strengthened by that message. If you would like to be a blessing to the ministry, you can text B. G. T. F. I 277977. Again, you can text B. G. T. F. I 277977 to sow a seed into the ministry and we thank you, thank you so much for your generosity or you can visit our website at B. G. T. F. I dot us for more information. Thank you so much. Once again, I hope you were blessed. I’m praying for you. We love you here at Bethel God bless