Jim Chafee - The Middle Miles - Stockholm, Sweden - 2008

Luke 22:28, "Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations."

John 4:6, "Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well."

John 15:9, "Continue ye in My love."

I want to speak a little about weariness and continuing. Jesus understands weariness. He sat down by the well. It’s not a sin to get tired. Sometimes He went up the mountain alone, to the garden, weary of the crowd, weary of their doubting and strife, weary of opposition and the unreasonableness of it all.

Do you ever get tired? Sometimes you do. Jesus' ardour ne'er diminished. He kept His one desire, to finish what He was sent to do. He kept His eyes on the goal. We heard about survivors. He said, “You are those that have continued with Me.” He didn’t say, "You are perfect or mighty or capable," but "You have continued." It meant much to Him; it means everything to the Lord if we just continue. Continue in My love, power, and authority. You continue in My love. We must do this. Love makes it possible to continue. If love fails, it's difficult to continue (Acts 2). All continued steadfast. It’s wonderful if it could be said about us. We are grateful Jesus continued. He finished the work He was sent to do. Not an easy thing to do.

We can be disappointed, but not discouraged, in the face of frustrations. Being weary, He sat down by the well. The middle miles are weary stretches of road. We can’t describe them so well. Maybe were not sure when well get there. Probably some are there now. This is my eleventh convention. Four months ago, I left my field. It will be good to be back again and just keep going. This applies to the Lord's people. Sooner or later, we get there. Sometimes, when we think of what’s ahead, it can keep us tired. Sometimes, life is not very interesting. In those times, we get weary of the straight stretches.

When we were kids on a long journey, we made up ways to make the trip interesting. We sang songs, played games, told stories, just to get through the weary miles. On those stretches, we are never very far from the ditch. For every mile of road, there’s two miles of ditch. This is something that’s the experience of every child of God. The middle miles can be the best miles, the best lessons learned.

Last week, we heard that life is not a struggle. Some say that life is a struggle. Better if we thought that life is a privilege. Every mile is a privilege. The middle miles are a privilege. The only thing to do is to keep on going.

These middle stretches can make us rich. It's what we put into them. Put our best into it, for there are great riches. Try to overcome the attitude that life's a struggle. There are great riches in the middle stretches, and some are there now.

Some are just beginning in Gods way. This stretch is ahead of you. You’ll get there. Its nothing to be afraid of, and it can be the best. You’ve been there and continued and have come to the end of the road.

In my last field, one of our friends lived a distance from our city. Now and then, we got on an old bus and bounced out there. In winter, it's cold, and it takes several hours. Way out in the mountains, I saw someone standing there. We got closer. A policeman was there. When we got beside him, we saw that he was not really a policeman but just a figure that stands there day and night, in the cold and heat. It’s a lonely postalways there and never moving. Can I be that dependable, that God could depend on me like that, out in the lonely stretches? We want to be true. This middle stretch doesn’t apply to a certain age, but could come upon us at any time. If we are not there now, we will be. There’s the middle of the day, the middle of the week, mid-life, midnight, and the middle of the storm. We pass through all this. We never really know when we are there, yet we know it will come, and weariness can overtake us.

In the beginning, we're leaning on others who help us stand. When we get to the middle stretch, they are not there and others are leaning on us; they’re depending on us to be true. In the beginning, we look for an example, but the time comes when we can’t see them. When that time comes, we are in the middle stretches. God depends on us to be a pillar, a standard bearer.

When we begin, we are in familiar surroundings. We journey onward with a little knowledge of where we are going. We know a little about the end of the journey. In the middle of the journey, we are in unfamiliar territory; we are strangers passing through. In the middle stretches, a lot can happen. Sweet memories can be made; we can know the sweetest fellowship. God is working and the sweetest lessons can be learnt.

We need to pay attention in the middle stretches. We haven’t gone that way before. Keep an eye on the goal, and keep moving. Learn the depth of need His love can satisfy. We have needs, and we have to seek a way for our needs to be met. We need rest and we get hungry; we need cleansing and direction. We can be reassured and encouraged while we are here. Some of the needs are being supplied because we are in the middle of the journey. We learn to know that God is in the middle stretches. It doesn’t have to be hard and difficult. We can learn to love this stretch of road, because every mile of our journey is a privilege. We can be made rich in love, joy, peace, patience and learn the Heavenly wisdom. Great things can be gained, and we need to keep true.

One lady told us of her journey. When she was 15 years of age, she made her choice. She was 43 years old when she learned to love God and enjoy God's way. She found treasure in the middle stretches. We learn to trust God. He’s been faithful till now. We can trust Him. He’s not going to leave us. He’s helped us in the past and He'll help us in the future. We learn to accept things, the solution that comes. It wasn’t our plan, but we just accept it and learn what’s important and what isn’t.

It's important in the middle stretches to watch your heart. Don’t let your heart become cold, or careless. Keep a warm heart. I’m very thankful that my Mother and Father in their middle stretches kept true and faithful. How important it is for children looking at parents in the weary miles, in the difficult times during the midst of the journey, and see them true.

Sometimes, we talk about weary miles, long miles, and short miles. There’s 5280 feet in a long mile; in a short mile, it is the same length. Sometimes we say Heaven is far away, or very close. Everyday of our life, its the same distance from earth to Heaven.

We talk about a long day, or a short day. How long is a long day? 24 hours. A short day is 24 hours they are the same. It just seems different.

How much does a heavy heart and a light heart weigh? It’s the same, but just we are affected by it. Maybe we're tired and need a rest. If we had a load and carried it all day, it would seem heavy. In God, nothing changes. God is always the same.

Fellowship is a wonderful help during the middle miles. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. When He was tired and hurting, Jesus got down and washed their feet. Weariness whose fault is it? Its something that happens. Sometimes we get weary in the battle but not of the battle. Just travel onward.

Soldiers get wounded and travellers get weary, but God has provision for both. God is the same. Sometimes we change. We need meetings. If we don’t get there, we are weak. No one starves to death if they miss a meal, but keep missing meals and they get weak. When they get weak, a crisis occurs. We need to feed on the Bread of Life.

Acts 12:13, Peter knocked on the door. When Rhoda told them it was Peter, they said, “You are mad!” Peter continued knocking. Just keep knocking; the door will open.

I went to a hotel to spend the night. There were two water faucets and I didn’t know which was hot and which was cold, so I opened both and let it run. When I turned them on, they were the same temperature. Little by little one got hotter. Which one am I? Am I getting warmer, or colder and colder? What’s happening during the middle stretches? Are we getting deeper and deeper into God's way? Continue continuing, keep on keeping on, and when you are done with that, go on.