“[Jesus] is the Man in the middle of all our interpersonal pain in the faith family. And every loss of an illusion and every gain of a reality is actually an opportunity to fellowship with Him, our Savior and First Love. . . . Our true hope is not the family of God; it is the God of the family.”- Alicia Britt Chole
Thomas said to [Jesus], “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”- John 14:5-6 (NIV)
In Chapter 51 (“The Man in the Middle”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole states the perspective needed to survive spiritual pain that comes from within the family of God. Fellowship with Jesus in His suffering.
Certainly, the sharp disagreement between Barnabas and Paul serves as the best-known early church example of disillusionment between two sincere Jesus followers. Their once powerful partnership dissolved when Barnabas chose to take a risk on Mark. Just as Barnabas once took a risk on Paul.
Hence, when disillusioned, we must position our true hope higher than ourselves. As a result, we remain connected by God’s Spirit. Even if or when our earthly paths diverge.
Moving on to Chapter 52 (“Conclusion”), the final chapter, Dr. Chole exhorts us to follow Jesus. In night as in the day. Even when — especially when — in pain. Yes, we would prefer that Jesus simply supplied the address so we could put it in our GPS. Get there on our own. However, Dr. Chole observes, when it comes to directions, Jesus tends to be minimalistic.
In conclusion, Thomas, like us, wanted directions. As a result, Jesus gave Thomas all the direction he needed: Himself. Oswald Chambers once described faith in God as a terrific venture in the dark. Indeed, Dr. Chole responds. The night is normal.
Today’s question: Do you see Jesus as the Man in the middle of your interpersonal pain? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of The Night is Normal