“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
One online dictionary defines “stand in the gap” as “to expose oneself for the protection of something; to take the place of a fallen defender or supporter.” From Genesis to Revelation we find wonderful examples of individuals who are willing to put the needs of others over their own.
In Ezekiel 22:30 the Lord says that He looked for someone among the people to build up the wall and stand before Him in the gap on behalf of the land so that He would not have to destroy it. But, no one was found to stand in the gap. In Ezekiel it was a physical wall and in our day it’s more of a spiritual wall. In biblical times a wall was erected to protect the city and its inhabitants from intruders. The slightest breech in the wall would be an access point for the enemy to enter and wreak havoc.
Since we live in a world of brokenness we are surrounded by people whose lives that have been shattered, in desperate need of someone willing to do something to “bridge the gap”. When I think of a modern day “Gap Stander” the name Don Ritchie comes to mind. Don was 84 years old and he lived in Australia just outside Sydney Harbor directly across the street from an infamous suicide spot known as “The Gap”.
For over 50 years Don Ritchie stood in the gap for 160 people who came to that spot to end their life. Living across the street from “The Gap” Don could watch as people made their way to the cliffs edge where the winds blew fierce and the oceans waves crashed against the jagged shore below. As people stood deciding when to jump there suddenly would come a voice from behind, “Excuse me? Would you come over to my house for a cup of tea, please?” You can imagine the shock they would feel with someone calling out to them in their darkest hour. All in all, 160 people took Don up on his offer and came away from the edge and joined him for tea. For over 50 years Don has stood in the gap and because of it 160 lives have been saved.
Today maybe more than ever the world is in need of men and women who would see the brokenness of others around them as an opportunity to stand in the gap between them and God seeking to help them off the ledge of despair and from jumping into an eternal abyss. What a privilege we have as ambassadors of Jesus Christ to share His love and the life with others, to extend a hand to hurting people and walk them back from the edge. All it took Don was a willing heart and a cup of tea.
“Gentle words are a tree of life”
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