There was a time when words slid from my mouth without my even thinking about what I was saying: “Let me know if I can do anything for you,” along with “I’ll say a prayer for you!” Did I expect the individual to call me to share a need or did I really mean it when I said I would pray? To be honest, no. Thus, a gap was created.
In this current climate of cultural and social upheaval, individuals are not only hurting but are also seeking authenticity in a world rife with hypocrisy. To many, it would seem there is nothing or no one reliable from whom to seek help or advice – to stand in the gap for them.
Stacy* was such an individual. Struggling with her marriage, her job, and her children, she tried secular counseling, sharing with friends, and just trying to ride it out, all of which failed to change her situation. Thoughts of suicide began to emerge, coinciding with a still, small voice that said, “Call your friend, Anna*.”
Expecting the same results as in her other attempts to find answers, Stacy reluctantly decided to make the call. To her amazement, Anna listened. For two hours, she listened. The hurt and pain that had crushed Stacy’s heart began to spill out even with her concerted efforts to push it back. There it was… out in the open! What now? Anna didn’t skip a beat. “I don’t know how to advise you,” she said, “but when I find myself in a situation where I don’t have any answers, I go to the One who does. May I do that for you?”
Without hesitating, Anna began to pray. She called out to her Father asking Him to reach out to Stacy and help her to find her way on her pain-strewn path. After praying, she invited Stacy to a prayer group that met weekly in her home. Not really knowing what to expect but hoping she would find more individuals like Anna, Stacy decided to attend. Every member of the group embraced her and made her feel the love and acceptance she had always longed for. The gap began to close.
It has been five months. In addition to the prayer group, Stacy met regularly with a local Christian counselor. One by one, each of the problems that plagued her life began to improve. In the meantime, other issues have come up; but now she openly shares these issues with the members of the prayer group who immediately lift them up. But it doesn’t stop there. Stacy is now praying for the group members as well along with others who now come to her with concerns.
For the longest time, Stacy could relate all too well with the verse that says, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap…. but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30) That changed for Stacy the day she confided in Anna… one willing to stand in the gap.
What will you do when you meet a Stacy today?
*Names have been changed
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Hotline by simply dialing 988.