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?

 

 

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6 Months

Yesterday marked 6 months since I arrived in Penang.

So much has happened.  So much has been stirred.  So many tears have been cried and moments celebrated.

This season has been unique, as each new season usually is.  There are familiar aches and growing pains that come along with moving to a new place.  This I knew.  It takes a while to settle in.

I know that I still have a lot to process.  As we look back weeks, months and even years later we can usually see more clearly what the Lord was doing in each in season.

Yesterday as I was reading Bittersweet I began to reflect on particular seasons in my life.  I began to remember the emotions and experiences and most of all the people that came along with each one.

The one I reflected on the most was my season in Lake City, Colorado.  

When I first went to Colorado back in 2008 “just for the summer” I had absolutely no idea what the Father had in store and what He was preparing me for.

1915677_1276897004878_3478632_nThat first month was filled with tears and homesickness and fear and almost everything just seemed to be too difficult.  It was the hardest summer of my life.  I stepped out of my box in so many ways. Part of the time that was due to just because being pushed out of it by my circumstances.

It was also one of the most life-altering summers of my life.  The raw community that I was grafted into took me by surprise, and I got a taste of something real that would leave me satisfied with nothing less from that point forward.

I was having a particularly tough time one week as a camp counselor.  Everything seemed hard and overwhelming (and it was only day one if I remember correctly).  I stepped away from my kids for a minute to try and gather myself and most likely shed a few tears before sucking it up and getting back out there.

As I sat outside the mail hallway one of the full-time staff that I didn’t know came over and prayed for me.  Rebecca, (who would later become my housemate) simply took a few minutes out of her day to care for me, speak some life and encouragement, and pour the Father’s love over me.

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This simple act impacted me to my core, and it’s something that I’ve never forgotten.  At that point in my life I couldn’t understand how a complete stranger could be so loving and concerned with how I was really doing.

This was my introduction into authentic community among the family of believers.  It was one of the things that drew me to stay in that special little nook in the mountains for the next 2 years.

Colorado 8

During that time I developed some of the deepest relationships that I’ve ever known.  I found more freedom to just be me than I ever had before.  It was a time of exploration and discovery and of diving deep.

We had late nights of games, good food, hot drinks, movies and the most interesting conversations during the long and sometimes lonely winter nights that only 9,000 + feet up and freezing temperatures can offer you.

1625800_1198104235108_5587383_n We would drink in the mountain views and bubbling streams while hiking or taking someone’s 4-wheel drive vehicle over the passes during the summertime.

We would enjoy the local live music at Mean Jean’s while sipping hot coffee on the back patio huddling around heaters but loving being together.

We laughed and cried and worshiped and just lived life together.

1918588_372721457153_8329265_nPeople came in and out of our little circle over the years.  Life as well as death touched us all and knit us together the way that only deep joy and unexpected tragedy do.

At that time my friends and I would talk about how unique and sweet of a season it was, and we knew that it wouldn’t last forever so we tried as best as we could to savor the moments and write the memories on our hearts

I am truly grateful for that season, even though at the beginning I desperately wanted to run back to Mississippi and hide under the covers of my comfy bed.  I’m thankful that I didn’t.

My loving Father took my hand and led me every step of the way. I know that His hand is still present where I am today, and I fully believe that He is very present in your life, whether you can feel His presence or not.

It can be hard to appreciate a season when you’re in.  It’s a challenge to stay engaged and not wish the past back into existence or on the flip side want to rush ahead into the future.

I’m finding a simple sweetness in just being present lately.  I’m trying to enjoy each moment as it comes.  I’m taking time to watch the sunset and actually see the people in front of me for the special gift that they are to me in this season, whether they’ll be there in the next or not.

At this 6 month mark I am filled with thankfulness for the goodness of my Father.  His provision is overwhelming and His love is deeper and wider than I could’ve ever imagined.  I sure don’t know exactly what’s ahead, but I know He’s going to be with me.

Cheers to the next 6 months!