The Miracle In The Middle: Finding God’s Voice In The Void, by Charlotte Gambill
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
The title to this book is a bit of a tease, because while it does discuss at length the middle parts of life where our tenacity and resolve are tested, it does not speak at length about the miracle in this period, nor does it discuss hearing God in the void, but rather spends more time discussing what we need to do in the middle, or before we get there, and what it is like to deal with God’s silence during that period as He tests and refines us. This is a very good book, and an extremely useful one at this present stage of my life, given that I am in the middle in a lot of ways, but it was not quite the book I was expecting, not that this is a problem.
In terms of its contents, the book contains eleven chapters of about twenty pages each, totaling just over 200 pages total. The book seems written in a bit of a hurry, as it was written under a deadline and the author appeared to struggle with how to fully handle the subject. The examples in the book include biblical examples and a lot of personal examples from the author’s family and from her own identity as an Englishwoman married to an American man who serves as a leader in the same congregation she grew up in. Many of the chapter titles give a clue to the extended metaphor that they are filled with, with a chapter like communal change not referring to the change of a body of people but rather the embarrassing and awkward situation of having to change one’s garments in public. This book is certainly honest about awkward aspects of life, and it does not shy away from the difficulties of life, or the struggles one faces in keeping one’s spirits up.
There are a lot of lessons that this book gives that qualify as useful and pertinent advice. One is to be sensitive to the need to show love and concern even in the most stressful of times, one is to recognize the tenacity and strength of character that one is gaining through difficulty, as well as the need at times to make oneself heard rather than suffer in silence. There is a fine line between patience and timidity, and this book offers few easy answers but the call to struggle as well as building faith and trust. The book’s real strength is in giving encouragement, and though this book is not likely to be remembered in a decade or two, it is the kind of book that will give some encouragement and a bit of wisdom for those seeking to endure until the reward is seen. That audience certainly includes me. Of particular interest to some readers will be the way the book strongly enjoins church leaders not to freeze people in time at their worst moments and hinder their ability to serve in a godly fashion, advice that is sorely needed and not always heeded.