The small fishing boat was getting swamped. The lake water couldn’t be kept out, for as fast as they could scoop it out, another wave would crash over them. All was dark—no visible stars or lights on the shore. Only occasional flashes of lightning revealed the terror in each other’s faces. They were going to drown—either the ship would capsize, or its hull would break. It was the worst storm of their lives.
Like the disciples during that dark, scary night, we may find ourselves in the middle of a storm. And our “storms” can arrive in a variety of ways: a struggling marriage, a meaningless job, a parent’s death, an endless illness, an overwhelming financial burden, or long-term unemployment. Struggling in the middle of these storms is a dark place with no shore in sight.
Several years ago, in a storm not as dramatic as the one on the Sea of Galilee, I learned something important about being “in the middle.” I was 5 at the time, and the only child not in school. So I was allowed to travel with my mom, my grandparents, and my aunts on a family vacation. It was raining hard, and there was only one umbrella to share between six adults and one child. So they stuck me in the middle of the group. When we know who surrounds us, the middle is a secure place to be.
John the Baptist found himself in the middle. His ministry was behind him, and his future was unsure, as it appeared that the reward for his faithful service was a prison sentence. Ellen White wrote, “Though no miraculous deliverance was granted John, he was not forsaken. He had always the companionship of heavenly angels. . . . These were his stay, as they were to be the stay of God’s people through the coming ages. To John the Baptist, as to those that came after him, was given the assurance, ‘Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end.’ Matt. 28:20, RV, margin.”*
When we are “in the middle,” so is God. He promised, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isa. 43:2).
Ty Gibson, in his book A God Named Desire, drew a diagram of what relationships in heaven might look like. Instead of a hierarchy, he drew a circle consisting of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, who form a circle, with every member of the universe branching out from that original circle.
I once realized that I typically pray either to Jesus or to God the Father, so I decided to pray to Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit at the same time. As I prayed, the image from Gibson’s book came to mind. I imagined the Trinity in a huddle, and realized that as I addressed all three of Them, I was in the middle of Their love.
What storms are you experiencing? Do you feel like the disciples who asked Jesus why He slept while all of the racket was going on? To be in the middle of the storm is dangerous, difficult, and overwhelming. But it also means that the Trinity surrounds you. The storm may or may not go away immediately, but you are in the most secure place you can be: in the middle of God’s love. Isn’t that all that matters?
* Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 224. Texts credited to RV are from the Revised Version, Oxford University Press, 1911.