Mind the Gap
Ever heard a sermon or song you wish you wrote? This is definitely one of those.
In 2017, Craig Clark visited our church in the Middle East and introduced a fascinating idea about a Gap, and what to do with it. That was one message that spoke to me on many levels and still speaks to me today.
If you ever travelled by train in the UK there is a sign or audible recording which says to ” mind the gap”. That phrase is deeply embedded in pop culture today and has been applied severally. The gap I allude to in this write up though is where your experiences do not line up with your expectations.
We have all been there. We have these five-year plans and big dreams. Others have prophetic words which they have received. Those words , hopes and dreams help frame our expectations for today. With change being the only constant, we can agree that a couple of years later, our 5-year plans do not exactly pan out as expected and we often find ourselves waiting for those promises to manifest in our lives. The result? Discouragement, potential depression and sometimes we choose to give up on those dreams. As the bible says, “Hope deffered makes the heart sick”. Prov 13:5
I go through that gap period often. There was a season where I wondered if singing was for me because, in the natural, things weren’t lining up with God’s promises. There was another season where I wondered if I will ever complete my PhD program. I went on to do both things after a season of waiting. In this season, I am still wondering if I will ever…the list goes on and you can probably fill in the blanks as you reflect on your own life. Think about those dreams that keep you awake, those promises that resonate deeply in your heart and for my single friends – that spouse of your dreams. We get frustrated when we do everything we can and yet we see no movement or progress in the direction of fulfilment. I believe that God wants us to be courageous in the gap as Kristene DiMarco writes in her song Take courage,” He’s in the waiting”. God is indeed there if you let Him carry you through your season of waiting.
So how does God want us to manage this gap between expectation and our experience?
1. Don’t give up! Cliche sounding I know, but the truth none the less. The bible is full of people who actively lived in the Gap. From Abraham to Joseph, Moses, and David. What was the common thread amongst these people? They believed and kept on believing whilst they waited. I know that the easiest thing for me to do during a gap and an especially long one is to forget about the promise, the goal, the expectation. But often times I hear God say “ Remember what I told you”. God doesn’t forget his promises, but sadly we do especially during a long wait.
2. Pray about it! Duh, you may say. But I have found that remaining persistent in prayer long term over an issue takes faith and humility- stemming from a knowledge that God is able to deliver on his promises and secondly you can’t do anything to hurry that fulfilment along. The second part is especially difficult for us fixers. We know that God is at work in our circumstance but we want to just fix it and get on with the next project.
3. Rest! I know this is easier said than done. But when we are praying and truly surrendering to God, we get into a place of “active rest”. Rest is quite distinct from forgetting about it. Rest is waiting in faith for as long as it takes, knowing that God is faithful to his promises and that he hears you.
4. Praise! One of my favourite scriptures is found in Isaiah 54: 1. It says, Sing oh barren woman… burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in Labor…; because more are the children of the desolate woman…” I don’t think it gets more descriptive than that. Sing of God’s goodness and his faithfulness. Let God become bigger than those mountains, as David says, MAGNIFY the Lord. Psalm 34:3. We tend to magnify the Gap rather than think of the goodness and greatness of our God. Someone once gave me a prophetic word in the midst of one of my many gap seasons, reminding me to sing!sing!sing! Tell those mountains who is boss! I encourage you to give God those high praises through the Gap as you await the fulfilment of his promises to you.
Over to you. How have you managed the gap seasons of your life and what has God taught you through those seasons?