Have you ever been to London? If you have, then as you read these words, “Mind the Gap”, your brain most likely translates them into a recorded automated voice with a British accent. This will continue to run through your head for days. You are welcome.
If you haven’t, just imagine the sensation you get waiting in the airport after about the 800th announcement from the FAA. Come on everyone, join in if you know it. “For your safety and security, please do not leave baggage unattended ……”
The warning in London occurs in all the train and underground stations. It serves to make you aware that there is a canyon sized hole between the platform and the train. You would think people would notice this, but apparently it is an issue. To ignore the gap, misjudge the gap or lose your balance passing over the gap would be a huge mistake, so the warning is broadcast frequently over speakers and in case you didn’t hear it, it’s painted every few feet along the platform.
I have thought about that a lot this week as I have been reading in both Nehemiah and Ezekiel. Ezekiel is warning the Jews of the coming judgment of God when Jerusalem will be destroyed and the people taken into captivity. Nehemiah lived during that captivity, but was called by God to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city, including the Temple and the walls. Both books mention a gap.
Nehemiah and his fellow builders work diligently on the broken down wall around the city to fill in the gaps; the places where there is inadequate protection. The picture of this community working together is beautiful. They labor side by side; to rebuild, to protect, to strengthen and to restore. The passages stir my heart to look for places where people I love are vulnerable and in need of restoration. It is a good reminder for me to pray for them and encourage them in the low places, to join with others and “mind the gap” on their behalf. And it speaks of the fellowship of believers, as we pray for one another.
Ezekiel’s reference to the gap stirs my heart as well, but in a sad and painful way. Ezekiel speaks for God when he says that He sought for a man among the people who would make a wall and mind the gap on behalf of the land so that He would not have to destroy it. But He found no one. The people had wandered so far from God that He was turning them over to their enemies for discipline. Before He did this, He was seeking for someone who would intercede on their behalf. But it says there was no one. No one in all the land who was willing to fill that gap. No one who was willing to take the time and ask God to intervene. No one who saw all that was going on around him and was broken hearted enough to stretch out his arms between a people that had gotten way off track and the God who loved them.
When I read these words, and I hear an invitation from God to MIND THE GAP, I remember that Jesus stretched His hands across the gap between us and God and now we are His ambassadors. I stick my hand up and say, “I’ll do it Lord! I’ll stand in the gap.” I know I am not alone. I know there are others who look around and see such need of God in our world. I know there are others who see the danger of the huge pit between the masses on the platform and the on-coming train barreling down the tracks. I know there are others who would say, “There is someone willing: me. I will stand in the gap.” I know, also, that this is not an easy call or one to be taken lightly. The pit is wide and deep and to stand in the gap means to literally enter into the brokeness of it on behalf of those who are NOT minding it!
As you commit to stand in the gap, you begin to see the situation from God’s eyes. It won’t be some automated, repetition of a canned message that rises up in your heart. Oh, you will mind the gap, because the gap will be on your mind. You will take it very personally, and as you pray and intercede, God will give you the warning words through your own voice. His words spoken through you. His love poured out through you and through your life. His prayers prayed through you for this land.
May God bless you, each one, as you don’t just mind the gap, but also commit to stand, and kneel, and pray in it.