Standing in the Gap

In one of my first posts for Grace & Such, The Constants of Change, I eluded to a very rough 2005. My husband, Todd, resigned his position in Little Rock, Arkansas, and accepted a job in the Northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. That was a huge decision and one that wasn’t taken lightly. In fact, it was one that was made with a lot of prayer. Not just by us, but by trusted friends who, even though they would have rather we stay in Arkansas, wanted God’s will for our lives.

Less than a week later, at the age of 39, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Talk about throwing a monkey wrench in the gears. The Reader’s Digest Condensed version of a very long story is that we decided the kids and I would stay in Arkansas while I underwent treatment after my surgery.

What was originally going to be a three or four month separation turned into a year and a week. No doubt, it was the hardest year of Todd’s and my life. There were moments it was so hard, in fact, that I couldn’t pray. My despair was so great, all I could think was, “Oh, God.” All I could say was, “Oh, God.”

God Knows

Romans 8:26 tells us “the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” I knew God knew my heart and what exactly I needed, even though I couldn’t express it.

Standing in the Gap

But I also knew I had friends pleading with God on my behalf. To heal me, to comfort Todd, to be with our kids, to make the time go fast… all the things, and then some, that I was unable to pray for. They were standing in the gap.

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

The idea is that when we can’t stand before God, we have someone who can do it for us. I picture a big stone wall with a large fissure in it. Normally, I’m able to stand in that crack and defend my city within the wall from all danger. When I am unable to fill that opening, it leaves my city vulnerable to attack. But when I have people who can temporarily take my place, my city is still protected.

On those rare occasions when all I could do was mutter, “Oh, God,” I knew I had people filling in for me. People who were praying on my behalf, saying the words I couldn’t find.

What a peace there is in that.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Jennifer Mobley Thompson
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  1. Sarah Robinson on August 16, 2018 at 8:58 AM

    Beautiful testimony, Jen.
    Some years bring such difficult challenges, we long for their departure. Yet, you, Todd and your kids persevered, carried by the sweet fragrance of prayer, and God’s faithfulness. I’m so glad your health is sustained, after all of the “Oh, God!”s.
    I know you love your faithful friends in Arkansas (we were in south Mississippi for 16 years ourselves, and built lasting friendships, where we were on retreat and where I discovered Moms in Prayer) but I’m really glad you’re now in PA and I’m in WV. Maybe we can spend some time back down south for a women’s writer-retreat, and relive those days of faith-building, and celebrate the seasons of our journeys.

    • Jen on August 16, 2018 at 10:42 AM

      It was a really tough year, but so much beauty came from those ashes. (Probably another blog post some day. lol)

      As much as I miss Arkansas and my beautiful friends there, I know we’re where God wanted us for a myriad of reasons. But I sure do enjoy visiting them when I can! And a writer’s retreat in the South is a sublime idea! 🙂

  2. Diane Tarantini on August 16, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Oh, my word, wow!! You were apart from your husband over a year? When you were going through cancer treatment? That is amazing! What a powerful story this is! How wonderful it is that your loved ones stood in the gap for you! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Jen on August 16, 2018 at 10:46 AM

      We were so blessed by the company he went to work for. They paid for him to stay in a hotel for that entire time and they flew him home every weekend for three weeks and then he would stay in PA the fourth weekend. Until that got to be too much for him and then it was every other weekend. But he was usually home for my chemo weekend.

      Yeah, it was quite a year. And hopefully you’ll get to read about all of it eventually, when I finally finish my book! lol But I’ll tell you something. Those friends and our parents were literal God-sends. Like wrapped up in pretty paper with a glittery bow gifts from Him.

  3. DianeK on August 16, 2018 at 10:52 AM

    I love that story – now. Easier to see it after the outcome, but it must have been so very hard to get through. Oh that every one would have believers surrounding them on the wall.
    Great story of encouraging us to make sure we ask for that help when we need it, and are the wall-watcher when another needs it!!

    • Jen on August 16, 2018 at 11:04 AM

      Sometimes I forget to ask others to be wall-watchers! Which, again, is another reason good friends are so important. Often they can figure out what you need before you even ask!

      Love me my good friends….

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