Standing in the Gap

What does it mean to “stand in the gap” for someone?

Biblically, there are physical and spiritual examples of this concept.  (Ps. 106:23; Ezek 13:5, 22:30, Nehemiah 4:16, Isaiah 58:12, I Timothy 2:1)

When the Israelites were rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah 4, half of the people literally stood by the ones working, with weapons in hand, in order in order to keep the enemy out and the men protected so that the wall could be rebuilt.

Many other avenues pertain to interceding for one another, waging spiritual war for our brothers and sisters and government officials, etc.

The thing is, we really can’t do it all on our on.  Sometimes we desperately need people to intercede for us or even to physically stand between us and an enemy.  When we are weak and vulnerable in specific areas, we may need someone stronger than us at the moment to help cover us from the lies and of the enemy while we “rebuild our walls” with truth.

At one point or another there will be areas of our lives that we kind of lose hope for.  There will seem to be a deficit of faith for God to show up or break in.  There will be a sphere where we are not strong or hopeful or courageous in.

If you’re like me, then you probably try not to focus on it.  You put it on the backburner and try your best to keep your eyes on Jesus, avoiding the pain of hope deferred and addressing the lie that God just won’t come through for you in that area.  Maybe even, like me, you pretty much stop praying about it altogether.

At some point, you will be confronted with the sin of unbelief.  The Father’s love will gently touch that tender area of your heart and you will have to choose whether or not to repent and have faith and believe that God is who He says He is and that He is for you OR to continue in your unbelief and deny the Holy Spirit access to change things.

Honestly, I know that on my own I can’t always seem to find the strength to muster up faith or belief.  Try as I might to renew my mind and stand on His promises, it doesn’t seem to revive my soul.

I know (head knowledge) that God is good, He is in control and I “trust” Him.  I was in Sparks and Bible Drills as kid.  I grew up Southern Baptist.  I know the Christianese things to say and do.  But you see I believe that sometimes we need the Body of Christ to come through for us in a very tangible way which will spur us on in our faith.

Sometimes I need a brother or sister to declare some life into dead areas of my life.  I need a reminder that He is the God that speaks life into dry bones and calls the things that are not as though they were (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 4:17).

I need family to believe for me and spur me on to take hold of the goodness of God.  I need a friend to pray for breakthrough in seemingly hopeless situations.  I need a shoulder to cry on and an arm to lean on when I feel like I’m going to fall.  I need someone to lock arms with on the battlefield.

I need someone to stand in the gap for me.

What a powerful thing.

This past week I had someone do just that for me.

It took me by surprise.  It stirred my faith.  It gave me fresh hope.  It challenged me.  It wasn’t even something I was necessarily looking for to happen, but it did.

Then the aftermath:  I’m faced with my response to this invitation.

It’s a bit scary to have hope after rejection.  It takes risk and vulnerability to believe in something that seems impossible.

You see this wasn’t just a thing for the moment.  He actually left me with a challenge and invitation to press in for myself, to spend time in prayer, to specifically ask God for what I wanted and declare His Words true.  He challenged me to believe God for something greater than I could see at the moment, to “rebuild my walls” if I can put it that way.

He encouraged me just how I needed it in the moment and gave me a springboard to jump in afresh for myself.

Now it’s up to me to share with my close friends and have a team that can rally with me.  It’s my turn to spend time with the Lord fleshing things out.  It’s up to me to set aside time to pray and declare truth.  It’s up to me to expose the new little springs of life to sunshine so that they will grow and to pull up the weeds when they pop up.

What incredible opportunities we have to bless and strengthen one another!  Let’s open our eyes, see what God’s doing and be a part of the solution.

Who will you stand in the gap for today?

Who is the Lord putting in Your path to strengthen and encourage?  Who is God asking you to speak on His behalf for?  Who is He asking you to pray for regularly?

We may have to stop and take a little time to listen.  We may need to give up a few minutes of our day and tend to the needs of others.  It’s a part of serving and entering into one another’s sufferings.  It’s a part of being and active member of His Body.

How can we minister the love of God to each other and impart courage to raise up a generation of believers with unprecedented faith?

Friends, we are not  meant to journey alone.  We can’t do it on our own.

So who will you stand in the gap for today?

 

 

Advertisements

God – the Supernatural?

I had an interesting experience recently.  I began to pray something to the effect that Christians would be open to the supernatural.  Then all of a sudden I realized, mid-prayer, how ridiculous that sounded as it came out of my mouth – praying that we would believe that God could work in supernatural ways.

Merriam-Webster defines God as this:

1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as 

a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe 

And the supernatural as this:

1 : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil

2 a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature

The Creator and Ruler of the universe implies to me that He is indeed supernatural and completely other than man and our human ways.  

Why is it a stretch for us to believe that a supernatural being, the Ruler of the universe, could manifest Himself in unexplainable ways?  I’m not meaning to sound judgemental at all to those that believe that He doesn’t work that way any more or to those that are struggling to believe it.  I’m simply trying to look at it from a logical point of view.

I believe that humans are supernaturally created.  Our bodies are absolutely miraculous and shout intelligent design.  I don’t think there’s a chance we got this way by accident.

The earth and the universe are indescribable and so perfectly placed it’s undeniable to me that it wasn’t purposeful.  

These two things alone display that God is extremely supernatural in His ways.  They are are so beyond us.  He created something out of nothing.  He breathed life into dry bones and put a living soul in each being.  Seriously, how amazing is that?!

I believe He is far more capable of things than we think, and that He is longing to co-labor with us to display His glory in the earth.  The question is not “can God work supernaturally,” but “will we make space for Him to move?”

C.S. Lewis hits the nail on the head:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We are too full on the things of this world which leaves little to no hunger left for things of God – His supernatural ways if you will.  

Just to clarify:  I am not saying that we should merely seek after the supernatural for the sake of seeing unexplainable things and experiences.  My heart in this is for the church (the sons and daughters of God) to walk in the fullness of all that He is and all that He extends to His family.  We are co-heirs with Christ, walking with the deposit of the Holy Spirit inside of us!  Let’s not settle for less, friends.  There is always more to know and experience and discover.  We will never exhaust His love and wisdom and grace. 

Andy Byrd recently said:

“If you know how to do it, your dream’s probably not big enough.”

We should need God to come through for us.  We should need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowerment daily.  We should need more than we can dig up within ourselves if we are actually living a life of faith.  Our dreams should bigger than what we can accomplish on our own.  Where’s the faith in having goals and ideas and dreams that are within our limits?

May our hearts and minds be open to all that God is and what He does and not just the bits that we can make sense of. 

I personally don’t want to worship or give my life to a god that I can fully understand and put in a nice tidy box.  I need more than what I can conjure up and explain.  I need supernatural wisdom and strength and grace to make it through each day.  There’s gotta be more to God than what I see and know.  

His Word is filled with stories of His supernatural ways.

Think of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and living to tell the tale.

Remember how He led Israel by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.

Recall how He parted the Red Sea for His people when they were trapped by their enemies.

What about that time He spoke to Moses through a burning bush that didn’t burn up?

And how about when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a firey furnace and came out not even smelling like smoke, but the guards that threw them in died because of the extreme heat???

Then there’s David and Goliath (I Samuel 17), Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6), Sarah and Abraham conceiving as an elderly couple (Genesis 21), Samson’s supernatural strength (Judges 13-16), Solomon’s gift of wisdom (I Kings 3), God extending daylight in order for His army to have victory (Joshua 10:12-14), and we haven’t even made it to the New Testament!

To me, I just don’t see how we can create a logic and a theology that says that God doesn’t work the way…well…the way that He’s always shown Himself to work even before He gifted all of His children with the deposit and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

I sure as heck don’t have it all figured out, and I don’t really care if I ever do.  I just know that I want to get ahold of all that He is and what He does, as much as I possibly can.  He’s the source of life and peace and love and joy, and I want to dive as deep as I possibly can into those realities.  I want to really know Him, kind of like David did in the fields as a shepard boy and like Mary listening at Jesus’ feet.  I want to walk in step with Him and be a part of what He is doing each and every day, and that’s going to take something beyond me, something dare I say…supernatural.