Her name is Sylvia. I didn’t KNOW that at the time. She’d been to my class before and of course told me her name, but it didn’t really register. But what she did for me THAT day will linger into eternity, like the sweet scent of perfume remains a room long after the woman who wears it has left. And because of THAT she holds a sacred place in my heart.
Life was happening and I was exhausted. At the time I was working, running my home, leading a marriage seminar with my husband and teaching Sabbath school every Sabbath. Now that my not seem like much but everything I was doing required my heart to be fully engaged. My clients get me, all of me, fully present and emotionally engaged. Doing a marriage seminar, well I bleed desperation for marriages to be all they can be, man and woman fully loving each other, filled with grace and acceptance, and a pour all of me, all my energy into imparting that. Wanting to inspire couples to take the risk, because it’s worth it. And any woman knows how tiring running a household can be; a son in grade 8 and a daughter in grade 11, two different schedules to coordinate. I was getting all my “work” done so I could pick my son up at 3:00 and be home in the afternoon. Making meals, doing groceries, cleaning house etc, etc…. you know how it is. My family needed ALL of me.
And then there was my Sabbath school class. Well that class was special. It was a Women’s class and the estrogen flowed freely, as did the tears. We had created a safe haven. We came and left all pretense and facade on the other side of the door. In our little room, we laughed, we cried, we shared, we supported, we prayed. And these precious women, all ages, all life circumstances……… well they too deserved ALL of me too.
But on this Sabbath morning there was no “All-of-me” left. There was nothing. I was physically exhausted and emotionally depleted. I remember praying, “Lord I have nothing to give.” I prayed throughout the morning, frantic, my unspoken request for God to give me “something” so I’d have something to give….. His answer to my prayer . . . silence.
The Sabbath school room was full that morning, we were 12 – 15 strong. The ladies carried on like they did every Sabbath. They chatted and connected, then went through their heart’s desires for prayer. . . . all the while I listened, and smiled . . . and still, I had nothing.
Prayer time arrived.. . . . I looked at my precious women. . . . tears welled in my eyes and dripped down my cheeks. . . . in a feeble, weak voice I told these beautiful women “I have nothing, I can’t even pray. I don’t even have the energy to pray.”
Sylvia spoke up then. She said she would pray. She said, “I’ll pray for you.” And though she sat across the room it was as if she came and sat in my chair with me, beside me. She told Jesus all the things I couldn’t say. She lifted me up and let me rest in her prayer. She stood in the Gap of my nothingness, where I couldn’t even reach Jesus. And took hold of Jesus FOR me. The Glorious Spirit of God was in that little room. . . . and there was peace.
After prayer I was able to teach class. . . . but this story is NOT about some miracle of prayer that gave me energy to teach. This story is about the miracle of standing in the Gap for another.
“When hope is more than you can bear, and it’s too hard to believe it could be true.
And your strength fails you half way there, You can LEAN on me and I’ll believe FOR you.
And in time you will believe it too.” (Jason Gray, Nothing is Wasted, emphasis mine.)
I was changed that day. Leaning on Sylvia, she “believed” for me. She was strength for me, she was love for me, she was peace for me, she was prayer for me. She stood in the Gap FOR me. She gave me a gift that transcends this “here and now” and carries me into the realm of the holy.
Of course she gave me a glimpse of what Jesus did and does for me. And that too is a gift because I have a fuller understanding. . . . my experience with Jesus is richer, deeper. O the love the Father has for us. . . that we should be called the children of God. Co-heirs with Christ. . . . because Jesus placed a cross in the Gap and built a bridge. . . . my heart overflows. . .
But this story, though a shadow of what Jesus did, is for today. For you and me. Let’s stand in the Gap. We NEED each other. I’ll stand in the Gap for you. . . you can lean on me. . . and I’ll believe for you. . . UNTIL you can believe it too.