AND, she also has graciously endorsed my new book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, which will officially release this coming Wednesday, July 2nd. However, and this is a little secret, Amazon put the print copy up on their site just a few days early. This means that if you would like to purchase a copy today, you can!!! The kindle version won’t be available until the official release date.
Today, Christin writes about what we can do to “stand in the gap” for those who need us…
Somebody asked me again the other day, a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately. I’ve been telling my story – how Jesus set me free from fear, how He delivered me. The things I’ve learned on my journey.
One of the big things I’ve learned is that I’m not alone – I was never alone. Not only is and was Jesus with me, but I’m in good company. There are a lot of women who have battled fear, just like me. And then there are their friends and family. They’re the ones who are now asking me:
What can I do to help my wife? My sister? My daughter? My friend?
It’s hard to see someone you love struggling – and feel so helpless.
But you can help. You can help by listening compassionately, without judging or criticizing them for “being silly” or lacking in faith. By understanding that the feelings are real, even if the things they fear aren’t.
You can’t face their fears for them – but you can “stand in the gap” for them.
“Standing in the gap” is an expression that comes from a story in the book of Nehemiah.
For years God’s people had been living in captivity and exile in Babylon, but at last the day came when they were allowed to return to their homeland. They faced enormous obstacles as they tried to re-establish their capital city, Jerusalem. The community was vulnerable to attack because their defenses were down—the city walls lay in ruins.
Their enemies used fear and intimidation to try to discourage the people and keep them from rebuilding the walls. And for a while, the strategy worked. Discouragement and despair prevented them from rising up to once again be the people God meant for them to be.
Then Nehemiah arrived on the scene. He told God’s people to keep their eyes on Him and ignore all the threats and accusations made by their enemies. He reminded the people of the value and significance of what they were fighting for. And he had them take turns literally “standing in the gap” – positioning themselves in the broken down places, the holes in the wall, with their weapons drawn – while those beside them worked to repair and rebuild the protective barriers.
The Bible tells us we all have an enemy – Satan – who tries to use fear, hopelessness, discouragement, and despair to subdue vulnerable believers today. But we can fend him off using the same strategy that worked for Nehemiah.
First, we’ve got to keep our own focus firmly on the God who loves us and strengthens us and protects us and defends us. We’ve got to tune out the lies of the enemy and tune in to the Spirit of Truth.
Then we take turns “standing in the gap” on behalf of our friends and family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. While they are doing the work they have to do in their own hearts and lives (in a sense rebuilding the wall) – or while they’re gathering the courage, maybe even regrouping after a tough battle – we pray for them, encourage them, affirm them, support them, shield them. In a spiritual sense, we’re standing between them and the enemy of their souls. (See 2 Corinthians 10:4, Ephesians 6:10-18)
The good news is that though the battle rages on, the winner has already been declared. The victory is ours in Christ Jesus!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Can I encourage you – one sister to another – to stay focused and stand in the gap for someone you love today?
Christin Ditchfield – is an accomplished educator, author, conference speaker, and host of the internationally syndicated radio program, Take It To Heart! She has written more than 65 books, including What Women Should Know About Facing Fear. Christin blogs at www.WhatWomenShouldKnow.org. She is passionate about calling women to a deeper life, the kind of life we long for – the life we were created for!
To meet this woman of God in person and hear her speak, you can join us at The Mercy Retreat!