Standing in the Gap

brokenangel

I am an optimist.  Most days, regardless of what the world throws at me, I see the good.  I don’t even try hard.  I give the benefit of doubt, more than I should.  I forgive things that  others would hold onto.  I choose to focus on the good in the world, instead of the bad. 

Occasionally though, that bubble of optimism is burst by the harsh stings of reality.  It comes when real tragedy comes too close to home.  I arrives when I hear something on the news that goes beyond what I can comprehend.  When my optimism is challenged in such a way, it is quite honestly hard to shake.  It is where I find myself as I write this, my head spinning in circles.  I am unable to wrap my head around the things that happen in the world, and when I look to God’s word for answer… logically, I get it.  In my head I can understand why the world is what it is.  However, my heart doesn’t and seems completely incapable of understanding. 

I spent several hours on a phone with a mother who is in crisis, and it isn’t a crisis that can be counseled away.  I could hear the the desperation in her voice.  I believed every word that came out of her mouth about the recent events in her life.  She was scared, and she felt hopeless.  The tone in her voice was not something I have ever heard in my life.  She is angry at the system, specific people, and even God.  She is walking a road few understand.

Since our phone call, I find myself in a place where my heart breaks for this woman, and those who are impacted by this situation.  Something that never should have happened in the first place, let alone affect her family in such a way.  I am blown away by the lack of support she has gotten from those whom she felt closest too.  People who were at one time her biggest cheerleaders, became her greatest critics.  So, not only are people like her walking roads that others can’t understand… they find themselves walking them alone.

The reality of her situation isn’t something that can change without some sort of miracle.  People are praying for this miracle to happen, but to day… things are just getting worse.  Things are becoming more difficult.  She is becoming more broken.  She feels more hopeless.

And here is the clincher, there is literally nothing you and I can tangibly do to help in some of these extreme circumstances.  Our encouragement and advice sounds great, but we truly have no clue what we are talking about.  We can rely on the Bible verses that we cling to during times of trial, but these verse seem so very far from her right now.  We can have faith that God is working out something good, but for her things are getting worse.   We feel like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, when she feels like the tunnel is closing up on her.

It is truly heartbreaking.  When I asked her how people could support her, she said:

Listen.

Believe me.

And if you can, relieve me or the family.

When people are in true crisis, they tend to keep things close to the chest.  They find themselves confiding in those who are closest to them.  But, and I know I am guilty of this, we often attempt to problem solve instead of just listening to them.  I once read that the biggest problem with communication today is that people are listening to respond, they are not listening to learn.  When that person in your life is in crisis calls and they just need to unload, let them.  Shut your mouth, open your ears and listen.

People who are living in incomprehensible situations are often accused of making things up, exaggerating how bad things are, or treated as if they don’t know what they are talking about.  Good intentioned people give advice or guidance over a situation they truly have no experience in.  I too am guilty of this, but nothing in my life can even remotely compare to what this woman is dealing with.  Who am I to even think that solutions I have to my everyday common life issues would even touch the extraordinary situation she is facing?  Instead, what we need to ask is “What can I do?” or “How can I help”?  We can ask the person what their options are, and then evaluate if we are in a position to help them.

There are some situations where the person in crisis is in desperate need of relief.  Relief can be something as simple as coming in and doing her household chores or preparing some meals for her freezer (so she has one less thing to deal with that day).  Relief can be taking her kids for the weekend, and giving her some peace and quiet.  It could be sending her and her husband on a weekend getaway to a local bed and breakfast, and keeping her kids.  Or, it may be finances.  Maybe you have been financially blessed were you can reach out and offer a financial relief to medical bills that have added up, or that unexpected expense that popped up at the worst possible time.

For those we love, who are going through the trials that test their faith… when their loss and grief becomes so much more than they can bear, that their pain turns to anger toward God…

Stand in the Gap.

When she cannot pray, we will pray for her.

When the Throne seems so distant to her, we will stand before the Lord on her behalf.

Please, right now, take a moment and pray.  Pray for the men, women, and children who are walking through crisis.  The Lord knows their names, He knows their situation.  God knows their prayers, their needs, their wants, and their desires.  Pray for His hand to intervene.  Stand in the gap for those who’s voices have gone silent from all of the screaming and crying out.  Be the voice.  Be the intercessor.

Whenever I write, I take a break to read before I come back to proof.  It’s a way to freshen my eyes to my work.  Like when you sniff coffee beans between smelling perfume samples.  I’m not the only one writing on this subject today, and it reminds me that there is MORE hurt out there than we realize. 

Article from A Holy Experience

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Where Does It Hurt?

hurtI came across this quote on the internet last night.   It spoke to so much of what was rolling around in my head.  On Friday evening as the attack on Paris was unfolding, I was in a meeting.  We were kind of secluded, and thus none of us were aware what was happening while we sat dishing out a to do list for our team of conference volunteers.

Over the past 46 days I have been slowly working my way through the Psalms.  My head has been swimming in the scriptures, where God’s people are calling out to him.  They are asking for divine intervention, they are looking to God to overthrow their enemies, they are seeking his protection, provision, and favor.

When I came across this quote… I thought of Paris.  I thought of Israel.  I thought of Africa.  I thought of Haiti, South America, and so many other places that are aching & have been for some time.  For some it is civil unrest, famine, poverty, medical crisis, abuse, sex trafficking, drug trafficking, genocide, evil and corrupt leaders…

I have also thought about those who are on our very streets, in the United States, suffering due to addiction, homelessness, untreated illnesses, mental illness…

I can’t help but to think of those who have prodigal children, missing family members, deployed spouses, terminal illness…

In a time of medical advancements, technology, wealth, and so many other things that should put things in our favor and give us the means to help others on a global scale…

The world hurts.

It cries out.

God do you hear me?  Do you hear my prayers?

Do not forget your servants, God!

Do not turn your face from us, do not withhold your blessing!

Lord, deliver us from our enemies.  Bring us into your presence.

For forty three of those verses were cries out to God (yes, some praises too.. but mostly cries).  This is the world today.  As I came into verses 45 and 46, I found a new page, a new voice.  Full of praises of the wonder and awesomeness of God and the Anointed One. 

The may be pain in the night.  But joy comes in the morning.  When the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid.  I know that YOU love me, your love never fails.

Praising you through the tears, clinging to your word.  Your world aches Lord, but our hope remains in you.  Examine us Lord, show us our iniquities, so that we may repent and be washed clean.  Do not forget your servants, you are our refuge and our protector.  We will sing of your glory forever.

Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress  Selah.

Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.  “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah.