Standing in the gap
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. -2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)
We live in a fallen world. The evidence is all around us. My wife recently met a sister in Christ who used to be married to a non-believing husband who makes his living in the mental health field. They have multiple sons together. In response to some emotional struggles his oldest son has been going through, the father is counseling the young man (late teens) to undergo a surgical procedure and subsequent treatments that will turn him into a "female". The mother is distraught. What do you do with that?
I know what I’d like to do. Unfortunately, I can't grab the boy and say, "Son, this is messed up. Let's take a breath and consider our options here." I can't take the dad out to a dark alley with a tire iron and say, "Regardless of how you feel about God and church and morality, you can’t do this to your son."
So what can I do? I could try and comfort the woman with sweet-sounding reminders about the goodness of God and how everything will be OK in the end. While some of those might be true and scripturally accurate, I don’t know that they would be especially helpful to her right now.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? -James 2:15-16 (NIV)
She needs a friend. Jesus with skin on. Someone to pray with after the prayer words have all run out. Someone willing to walk through the wreckage with her, no matter how deep and ugly it gets. Someone who will not only speak truth to her, but help her navigate the day-to-day application of that truth in a scenario that looks hopeless.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” -Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)
You see, there is hope. One day, Christ will return and set everything right. In the meantime, it’s easy to lose sight of that. Because life in a fallen world isn't like a movie - tie up the loose ends, good guys win, bad guys get what's coming to them, everybody leaves the theater to an upbeat tune while the credits roll. Life here is often unpredictable. And awkward. And confusing. And emotionally draining. As a result, convoying frequently looks like running to the mess when every fiber of my being is screaming, "Hurry! Quick! Run the other way!" Broken people in a broken world need Jesus men right now. Will I be one of them? Will you?
I looked for someone 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 no one. -Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)