Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: First (as in original) (01/10/05)
TITLE: Hope for the Middle Child
By Hope Horner
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They’re responsible, used to being the Center of attention, natural born leaders and protectors. Sociologists say it’s because they were doted upon—the first bundle of joy to enter the family. Mom’s overcautious and beaming. Dad’s a proud, attentive new papa. They both make sure that every door, socket, stairway, and medicine cabinet is child-proof. Junior is free to roam through this new, protected world, and mama and daddy are there to praise their every scoot, crawl, and step.
Then comes number two.
And number three.
And for some families who want to form their own NBA team…five, six, seven…and maybe more.
Let’s face it, after one, the novelty wears off. Mom and Dad are now the ringleaders of a circus that would rival Barnum and Bailey. The endless barrage of screaming mouths, runny noses, and dirty diapers have worn them down. Sure, they praise number two’s first step, but not with the same enthusiasm. No matter what two, three, four, or five do, good ol’ mom and dad have seen it all before. Just like the “Lion King” video they’ve watched bleary-eyed for the four hundredth time, this is all just a repeat. Oh sure, there might be a variation on a theme. But if you’ve seen one crayon drawing of a lopsided red box and a green blob, you’ve seen ‘em all.
It’s not that they love the others less than number one. Oh no. Their love is as strong as ever. It’s just that there is only one FIRST. The first is always the first, no matter how you look at it. There are no second firsts.
And don’t think the middle child doesn’t know this.
There are three hundred page books written about the woes of being the middle child. Therapists all around the country own yachts and beachfront homes in Miami and Malibu thanks to turmoil of the middle child.
If you are a firstborn, you are probably reading this and nodding your head in agreement. Always so self-assured aren’t you? Although, short, incomplete sentences like the one coming up probably bug you. With those control issues and all.
Or are you the happy-go-lucky baby of the family? Then you’re probably chuckling as you read this—you don’t mind the choppy sentences--you’re always so light-hearted and fun.
Or maybe you are the middle child? Poor thing. You’re probably groaning as all of those childhood memories come rushing back into your mind---the hand-me-down clothes--fighting for dad’s attention at the skating rink—telling mom your older brother or sister said a bad word, only to be scolded, “Stop being a tattle tale!”
Well, no matter whether you were born first, middle, second to the middle, or dead last…
God doesn’t care in what order His children are born.
He doesn’t have any firsts, seconds, or thirds. There is no “middle child” to the Heavenly Father.
In fact, He loved us before we were even formed in our mother’s womb!
Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
And God gave us life before we were born! Before we could be labeled first, middle, or last!
Job 31:15 says, “God is the one who gave life to each of us before we were born.”
Isn’t it amazing to think we are that special to God?
Especially when we think of how many children He has!
So whether we were born first, last, or somewhere in the middle, our earthly birth order does not matter to God. Sure, He rejoices in our earthly birth—when we become a child to our parents, but He is even more pleased with our “new birth”—when we become a child of God. And every family member is important to Him--so important in fact, He sent another member of His family, His beloved son Jesus, to be a sacrifice for us.
And that kind of love is something even a middle child can rejoice about.
Dedicated with love to my sister, a “middle child”
Copyright Hope A. Horner, 2005
Verses taken from the RSV
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