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Standing in the Gap

 

If you ever need help, I’m your girl. I can make meals, clean, listen, pray, and I will pretty much do whatever I can do to help someone in need. But when it comes to receiving help…well, that’s a whole different story. I tell myself I simply cannot ask for help because I do not like putting people on the spot by asking them to take on one more thing to add to their already heavy load. However, if I’m honest with myself, another reason is that pride gets in the way, because when I ask for help I am admitting that I can’t do it all. I think if we are all honest, there would be a little of that in all of us.

One thing I am learning, however, is that we all need each other. No matter how strong, independent, hard-working, or determined we are, there comes a point when we realize that we are not Super Man or Wonder Woman and we need help. I am so thankful that God in His infinite grace and mercy brings people into our lives to help, intercede, and to stand in the gap for us right when we need it the most.

Recently, I was reading in Exodus 17 the story of the Israelites’ victory over the Amalekites. I have to say that I’ve read this story many times before, but the message has never hit so close to home as it does at this time in my life. The story starts with Moses telling Joshua to choose some men and head out to fight with the Amalekites. Moses assures Joshua that throughout the entire battle, he, Moses, will be there standing on a hill with a rod pointing to the sky, demonstrating their reliance on God for the victory. So Joshua immediately follows Moses’ instruction and heads out to battle. The passage tells us that as long as Moses held up his hands Israel prevailed, but as soon as he became weary and lowered his hands the Amalekites began to overtake them. And here’s the part that I love the most about this story: When Aaron and Hur saw that Moses’ hands had become heavy, they surrounded Moses and supported him on either side and held his arms up keeping him steady until the going down of the sun.

Wow! Can you relate to Moses and imagine how he must have felt? I sure can! We all have times in life when we feel tired, weary, and unsure of how to carry on with the enormous burdens that we face. But what if we were never meant to carry them alone? What if all along God had people alongside of us ready to help us in our times of need just as He did with Moses and Joshua? I have a feeling our burdens would seem lighter, days would be easier, and perhaps we would emerge confident and victorious if we would allow people to stand in the gap and help us through our challenging times.

It’s often easier said than done, right? So how exactly do we do this? How do we stand in the gap for others? And better still—how do we allow others to stand in the gap for us? Here are 3 practical ways that are found in the story that God has used recently in my own life:

  • Encouragement.  As I think about this story and imagine Aaron and Hur standing beside Moses holding his arms up, I have to believe that they did not stand there all day in silence. In fact, I am quite sure it was the opposite and that they spent their time that day cheering each other on and encouraging one another to be strong and not give up. Can you imagine if we all did the same and took the time to lift up one another? Think of the difference it could make in our families, our friendships, our neighborhoods, our churches, and even our country. My mother-in-law is a wonderful and constant example of this. Whether it is with her children, grandchildren, ladies from her Bible Study, friends, neighbors, and really whoever the Lord brings into her path, no matter how busy she is, she always takes the time to listen and to encourage others and God is using her in a tremendous way.
  • Presence. How many times do we find ourselves saying, “Please let me know if I can ever do anything to help out,” when in all reality, we know in our hearts that the other person will more than likely never ask us for help. What I have learned is that sometimes we just have to show up and make ourselves available.  And that’s exactly what Aaron and Hur did. They didn’t wait to be asked. They saw the need and jumped in to help Moses. Once again, I can be the worst at asking for help, but there have been several times in the last few months where people showed up to help me and it meant the world to me. After my brother died so unexpectedly 6 months ago, the cards, texts, calls, flowers, and meals meant more than I can even express. Just knowing how much people cared helped carry me through that difficult time. And also as I help my parents walk through their heartbreaking journey with Alzheimer’s, there have been friends who have come alongside of me to help me as I help them. I can’t even begin to tell you how that has ministered to my heart and soul. And having been on both sides of giving and receiving, I have to say there’s no way to lose. Everyone wins and everyone is blessed when we take the time to be there for others in their time of need.
  • Prayer. There’s truly nothing greater that we can do for someone than to lift them up to the ONE who can meet their deepest needs and do the miraculous in their lives. There’s power in prayer. So why is it sometimes so hard to ask for prayer? I think once again we don’t want to burden others with our needs. But one thing God recently showed me is that sometimes by asking for prayer it actually opens the door for God to use someone to answer that need. I saw this firsthand last week in a situation that came up with my mom’s Alzheimer’s. It was very heartbreaking and I was very concerned, so I asked a couple of my friends nearby to pray. I remember being reluctant to contact anyone because it was during the evening, and I didn’t want to be an interruption or a burden. But as it turned out, one of my friends contacted a member of the community and was able to arrange a meeting the next day for us to get a much needed resource that would help bring support and peace of my mind to my parents during this difficult time. This was such a huge reminder to me that God has people around us that will stand in the gap and help us if we will allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our hurts and needs.

Two are better than one, for they can help each other succeed,

if one person falls the other can reach out and help.

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

I have to admit that I wrote this blog probably more for me than for anyone else, so that I won’t forget the importance of not only helping others but also allowing others to be a help and encouragement to me. The truth is we are all on this journey together and whether we want to admit it or not—we need one another, for life is sweeter and so much easier when we encourage, show up, and stand in the gap for others AND allow others to do the same for us. I want to leave you with the words to an old song by Babbie Mason that has always meant a lot to me. No matter what we go through in life, we can rise above it with God’s help and through the love and support of those who are willing to stand in the gap for us and see us through.

Standing In The Gap by Babbie Mason

I heard that you were hurting that you were suffering pain
But I didn’t dare just turn my head and look the other way

For when your heart is aching
My heart is aching too
Let me help you bear your burdens that’s the least I can do

I’ll be standing in the gap for you
Just remember someone somewhere is praying for you
Calling out your name
Praying for your strength
I’ll be standing in the gap for you

Right now you may be troubled
But everything will work out right
For the spirit knows before you speak what is on your heart and mind

So I’ll be interceeding
Till you’re standing strong again peace that passes understanding
Is gonna be yours,
But until then…

I’ll be standing in the gap for you
Just remember someone somewhere is praying for you
Calling out your name
Praying for your strength
I’ll be standing in the gap for you

So hang on my friend

It won’t be long

until you’ll have the strength to carry on

For when two or three are walking together
It will be a much lighter load
For isn’t that what a brother and sister are for?

I’ll be standing in the gap for you
Just remember someone somewhere
Is praying for you
Calling out your name
I’m gonna be praying for your strength
I’ll be standing in the gap for you

 

 

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