Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus The Very Thought Of Thee"1 (Lyrics)
Ezekiel 22:29-30 – The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. (NIV)
When I was a boy aged eleven to sixteen, at the beginning and end of each term for the five years that I was away at school, I used to have to cross over London from Morden to Kings Cross on the Northern Line, changing tube trains and scurrying across an antiquated system. It was a traumatic experience for a solitary boy, for if I made a mistake, there were big consequences. At Kings Cross, I met up with other boys, who, like me, were taking the train up to Wakefield, Yorkshire. It was a long day.
As the train arrived at each station, a clear voice would announce the station name and the train's destination. As the doors opened, "Please mind the gap" would ring out as a warning to all over the loudspeakers. I can still hear the announcement in my head fifty years later. Sometimes, there was the distance of a good foot between the floor of the carriage and the platform. I had to make a deliberate action to focus and step over the danger area. This was easy for an adult who has a larger stride than a boy, but for me, it was always an anxious moment that echoes down the decades and stays with me even now.
These days, I am reminded of God's concern for us to mind the gap, in our own lives and in the world.
In our time, more than ever, I believe that our world needs intercessors to stand in the gap for the right and the good, because fewer of us are able to remember a time of God's restraint or to recognize His blessings. So, for us still standing, we need to pray God's provision, restraint, and healing into the chasm between God's harmonious kingdom of lovingkindness shown in Jesus, and increasing worldly wickedness. Jesus has called us to be intercessors, to pray in His rule over the kings, princes, and leaders of governing powers and celebrity, who preside over wars and the abuse of our planet's ecosystems and climates.
By what means can we stand in the gap if we have not first received God's kingdom ourselves? Or have we just given up trusting in a God who is prepared to reach into us, to turn our lives upside down, and to bridge the gap from death to life, via the grace found in Jesus' death and resurrection, and the subsequent empowerment of the Holy Spirit?
The danger is real and the consequences are vast for us and world if we give up.
I believe that Jesus is looking for His church to shine and call out to the world in danger: "Mind the gap! Let me give you a hand up."
He will bring His light where there has been only darkness, and His peace where there has been chaos and war.
Prayer: Lord, where there is tiredness, doubt, and despair, please shed Your light. Come and bridge the gap in our lives between our doubt and Your belief in us. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, change us to bring peace, love, and hope. Grant us the courage and boldness to speak out when it is right, in Jesus' name. Amen.