The Gap

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The Gap

By Grant Gaines

Fairy tales have been a childhood favorite since time began. We can’t help but to marvel and awe over a prince’s bravery as he comes to save his damsel in distress. There is something just so heroic and romantic about these fairy tale stories that we can’t help but to lock in our full attention when a magical story is being read.

Of course these fairy tale stories aren’t all fables; some of them are actually real life. Take for example 78-year old South Carolina native Larry Swilling whose wife was quickly dying of kidney failure. Determined to see his precious wife of 57 years enjoy more time on this side of eternity, Larry immediately tested himself to see if he was a suitable match to donate a kidney to his wife. Strike one.

Larry’s three children then stepped up to the plate and all got tested in the hopes that one of them would be a match. Strike two, three…and four.

This put Larry’s wife, Jimmie Sue at the end of a longgg list of those who were waiting for a kidney transplant as well. There was very little time to waste because the doctors didn’t know how much longer Jimmie Sue could live in her condition.

Unwilling to give up just yet, Larry did the only thing he knew to do – he made a sandwich board with the words “Need a kidney for wife” as well as his phone number and stood on busy street corners every day, all day for an entire year.

Fortunately, Larry’s determination paid off as his wife, Jimmie Sue, finally received a kidney transplant in September of 2013.

Just as Larry was determined to get help for Jimmie Sue, God desires for His people – you and me – to make up our minds to share Christ’s love with the world, our country, and our families. God wants us to stand in the gap between a nation that is crumbling before our eyes because of moral decay and the only One who can revive our country. The Lord longs for us to stand in the gap between our loved ones and the only One who can truly keep them on the straight and narrow path. Essentially what God wants from us is to be no different than the priests in Joshua 3.

As we pick up in this story, we get to jump right in the middle of the action as the Israelites were about to cross into the Promised Land via the parted Jordan River. Before the River could spilt, however, the priests first had to put their feet in the water symbolizing the fact that often before God will deliver the miracle we’ve long been praying for, we need to first take a step of faith. This is a great lesson, but not the one we’re focusing on today.

Rather, as we keep on reading the story, we learn that, “The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” (Joshua 3:17, NIV).

Isn’t that such a marvelous picture of what the Lord wants us as the Church to do today? He wants us to stand in the gap so others can move from slavery to sin into freedom, from spiritual death into abundant life, and from spiritual infancy into maturity. He wants us to fill that gap so that others can move forward.

Unfortunately, however, so often we drop the ball in standing in the gap. Far too often Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV) is a more accurate description of the Church today when the Lord said, “I looked for someone among them who would …stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”

How crushing are those words? God desired to bless His people and see them flourish, but no one was willing to be the agent through which He moved. No one stood up for their country, their family, or even their own lives in prayer so that the Lord could do a mighty work among them. No one stood in the gap and therefore a miracle was forfeited.

No one wants that said about them – that they missed a miracle because they were too lazy to do their small part in a massive miracle. Instead, let it be said of us that we are those who daily stand in the gap on behalf of our families and country so that the Lord can do a mighty work among us.

How do we do that exactly? It’s simply: we pray. When we pray, we fill the gap between an eternal God and sinful, finite human beings. When we pray, we bridge the impossible to the possible. When we pray, we become agents through whom God is pleased to work in and through. Prayer truly is the key to our success as individuals, as families, and as a country.

Why don’t you take a moment right now to write down the names of five people that you will commit to pray for this coming week? Stand in the gap for them each day and watch the Lord do what only He can do!

Who are you standing in the gap for?

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
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©Grant Gaines 2017


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