I had heard it all my life. That Satan (the enemy) was against God, and surely, he didn’t care for me much either. Because God had taught me, from an early age, that He was all I had. Everything that was beautiful, or special, or granted to me was fueled by the merciful, loving heart of God. I knew that without Him there would be no victory, no reason to hold out for a celebration. I would never have fullness of joy without Him. I have always truly believed it.
I have watched the enemy roam around in the middle of our trials and try to push our faith around. I have observed the absolute brilliance of the Lord as He accomplishes His plans. After contemplating both, I have come to this conclusion. If God has created life (the starting line) and if God has conquered death (the finish line), then the only place left for Satan to play (and possibly win) is the middle field.
Satan plays the middle field because he has no power over the beginning or the end.
God promises us that if we rely on Him, if we utterly cling to Him, He will have the victory in our lives. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV) But in the middle, somewhere in the middle, Satan steps up and tries to make us question if God really can get us to the end. Satan stands at every corner we turn handing out discouragement and despair, causing us to doubt and wonder. We have plenty of time to come up with all kinds of endings of our own, in the middle field. That is why the Bible tells us to be on guard in 1 Peter 5:8. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We need to be mindful that the enemy stalks the middle field…the middle of a trial when we cannot see our way out, the middle of work we are doing for the Lord, the middle…the middle.
Most of our lives are spent navigating “the middle field.” Very few things that we really want come easily or transpire in a short amount of time. Most of our dreams and our hopes come to fruition over the course of years, sometimes decades. Whether we are praying for someone to spend the rest of our life with, a cure to failing health, restoration in broken relationships, an end to depression and self-hatred, or a release from the bitter root of anger, it takes time for God to work out the plans of His heart. But, one thing is for sure…. He will accomplish the plans of His heart. The Bible tells us this in Jeremiah 30:24. “The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has fully accomplished the plans of His heart.” Although the enemy prowls, the Lord is fierce. He protects us. He defends us. He moves circumstances in our favor. “But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble for God is my defense” (Ps. 59:16-17). The same God who delivered Jesus from the powerful grip of death to a glorious ascent is delivering us today.
If I had known what I know now, I would have expected oppression from the enemy when my husband and I decided we would like to start our own family. After buying a pair of maternity jeans on Ebay and entertaining dozens of baby names, we glistened with hopefulness and waited in joyful anticipation. A year and a half later, I found myself in the middle of an infertility specialist’s office analyzing the chance of my husband (David) and I having children at all. I never imagined that someone could deliver such a set of sobering news to me…”The chances of conception were slim to impossible.” I slid down in my seat unable to accept an answer that was so firm, so final, so devastatingly cruel.
After two rounds of in-vitro which required the maximum amount of hormone inducing medication, we had lost four viable embryos (babies). One embryo from the second in-vitro attempt was held back and stored in the bottom of a nitrogen tank in hopes of being transferred in the future. The doctors ran more tests, and one thing became clear. We would need to move forward in a hurry. My reproductive organs had aged prematurely, and I was not responding favorably to the medication that encouraged several eggs to develop during the course of one menstrual cycle. David urged me to move my medical file to another doctor and try one more round of in-vitro, in the essence of time.
I was weary. We were in the middle field. Satan knew it. I believed that God was with us, but I could not see Him. Our lives had changed the day they mixed our reproductive material in a petri dish and the cells began to grow and divide and multiply. David had become a Father, and I became a Mother. Life had begun, and then, for some unknown reason could not continue. I could barely breathe, much less entertain giving the reproductive process a third chance. Had I not utterly loved my husband and wished for him to become the Father of our children, I think I would have said that I was going to retreat…take a rest, take a bow. I would have sunk down in utter sadness. With a tired, wilted heart I moved forward and transferred all of my medical records to another doctor. When they ran a new, different set of tests, it became clear. My immune system was compromised. My body saw my own babies as a cancer and sought to destroy the developing fetus. It was thought that I would be at par with every other “normal” woman if I was given an immune regulating drip before they implanted the next set of embryos in my uterus.
After going through a third round of hormone inducing drugs, several eggs were ready to be recruited. Quietly, I told the Lord…”I cannot imagine handling another loss and I do not believe that my body can sustain a pregnancy. I feel hemmed in on every side.” When the doctor peered into my uterus to do a final check to see if my body was prepared to house the developing embryos, he saw a small polyp…a small tag of skin that had developed as a result of the medications. He knew right away that the transfer would be postponed. The embryos that had developed in the petri dish would be frozen for two years, preserved for another time. The God of the Universe intervened in the form of a small polyp, right in the middle field of infertility.
Several years later, God would point me in a different direction. After getting pregnant on my own and receiving the immune regulating drip, I miscarried a baby at six weeks. Soon after, I would begin to entertain another option for our frozen babies…surrogacy. On July 18th, 2008, God did what only God could do. He delivered a little boy into our arms after waiting for years in the middle field. The most broken part of me had produced something whole. Several years later, a baby girl would be born after spending six years in the cold, dry middle of a nitrogen tank.
David and I are the parents of seven children, two of which walk and talk and tumble around this world. We are forever grateful for the way things have ended. We are forever mindful that God did it. He is still delivering. He is still fiercely accomplishing. He is the beginning and the end and He is reason we made it through the middle field.
If you are waiting for God to move in your life, please know….God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).