Standing in the gap

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Have you ever read the scripture about ‘standing in the gap’?

Eze 22:30 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.

I learned about the principle years ago, and it is widely known in Christian circles. Standing in the gap means to pray for a person that cannot or doesn’t want to pray, for whatever reason. That verse, got new meaning. I have a story to tell. It isn’t a pretty story, but it has a marvellous ending.

My husband and I have been through a year of hell. Being an aspie, I cannot cope with unpredictability and uncertainty. And since last year October, that is all we had. Unpredictability. Uncertainty. Not knowing what is going to happen next. To tell you that it frustrated me, is a major understatement. It nearly destroyed me. Since August, I became very depressed. I just couldn’t see our way out of our circumstances. Gradually, it just became worse and worse. And my thoughts became dark. I wasn’t suicidal, as I will never do that to my husband, my mother and my children. We had a suicide in our family and I have seen what it does to those who stayed behind. But I really didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t handle life anymore. I wanted to die. Just die.

The night before last night, I could not sleep. Despite taking a sleeping tablet. I was arguing with God throughout the night. And I got more and more desperate. After a couple of hours, God told me we have reached the turning point, and things will start changing.

Only today, I got this testimony from a friend. That same night, God woke her up and commanded her to pray for me. I am going to translate her messages to me without changing anything.

“I woke up with a horrible anxiety and all I could see in the dark was your face, in a cloud. I jumped out of bed, went to the bathroom and asked God what I should do. I got back in bed asking God to direct me. God told me to pray for you; if I don’t, you won’t make it. I started praying softly but I couldn’t find rest. I jumped out of bed, and went to the room where you always sleep when you visit us. There I knelt beside the bed and starting pleading with God that He would keep you from committing suicide – that was the first thing I thought of! I pleaded with God to let you experience peace and love. Eventually I was crying to much that all I could say was ‘please God’. It went on for three hours. And then the Lord spoke to me again. He clearly said that if I didn’t stand in the gap for you, HE would remove you from your circumstances.”

God knew my heart. He knew I had no will to live left. But He also knew I still have work to do. So He got someone to stand in the gap and pray for me, when I was praying the wrong prayer. In His grace and mercy, He ignored my prayers and instead raised up a Godly warrior that prayed for me.

I am humbled. I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and mercy. That verse will be special to me forever. And the warrior He raised up for me, will for always have a massive space in my heart. If there was disobedience, I might not have been here, to write this blog.

God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good.

We are not out of the woods yet, but things have started to change.

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To help or not to help

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Whether to help, and whom to help, is a big and difficult question in South Africa. I know that with this blog post, I will be very unpopular with some people, and really, it doesn’t bother me. If you are a racist, I suggest you stop reading now.

I have been perplexed by this verse for a long time:

Gal 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Why would we become weary in doing good? It feels so good, to do good!

And then life happened.

We helped a white, poor family to get back on their feet again. And we got stabbed in the back right there after. Life happens hey. So now, I don’t want to help people like that again. I just don’t.

This morning, I visited a school in the poorest of the poor areas – Pholapark in Thokoza. What I saw in the area surrounding the school, was heart breaking. Little snotty nosed kids playing in a street, where live electrical wires are running across the road, between heaps of rubbish. Poverty like you will only see in a squatter camp. Poverty without any dignity. I cannot put it in words. I will let the photos speak a thousand words on my behalf.

 

In these ‘houses’, there are people living, that were created in the image of God.

In these ‘street’s are children playing in the most disgusting conditions. Dirt. Danger. Everywhere.

This morning I decided to help this school. I cannot make the entire world a better place, but if I can improve the lives of a few school children, then at least, I am still doing good.

Now I know, the question is going to come: “why are you not helping our own people?”

These people, that live here, ARE my people. We were born in the same country. We were created by the same God. And one day, we will stand before His throne together. Skin colour and culture, doesn’t make a difference to me. South Africans, ARE MY PEOPLE. But I will give you a reason for helping these people, instead of investing in a white squatter camp for instance. The answer is white privilege. You can deny it as much as you want, if you are white, you benefited from it. We all did. I grew up in a poor family – we didn’t have money for all sorts of luxuries. I grew up in a stack flat; my parents never owned property. I couldn’t go to college or university after school; there was no money for that. BUT – I worked myself up and paid for my own qualifications.

Every white person, had the same opportunity I had. Some had more. Some had rich parents. Those in the squatter camps, were on the same level I were. I know what it feels to go hungry because there wasn’t enough for me and the children. I know how it feels to eat oats three times a day, because it’s all we had. So don’t think I don’t know what poverty feels like. I do. But I worked myself out of there. Due to white privilege, any of those in the white squatter camps could have done it too, and they still can. My experience is though, that cigarettes and alcohol are more important than food for their children. When offered a job, many of them don’t want it.

No, I am not generalising. I KNOW everybody isn’t like that. I KNOW that. But with what I have experienced, this is what I have decided. I will adopt that school and try to help in some way. At least little children, won’t stab us in the back again.

One good deed a day, will make South Africa a better country for all of us. Stop pointing fingers. Stop being racist. Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Find something good to do, whatever blows up your skirt – do it.

 

Medicine and Miracles

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There is a strange concept among believers and non-religious people. If a christian is sick, everybody expects a miracle. And if the miracle doesn’t happen, obviously according to the super-spirituals, the sick person doesn’t have enough faith. I remember one house church meeting as if it happened yesterday. The woman had severe pain due to bad back problems. In every meeting, she asked for prayer to help with the pain. In each meeting, the cell leader prayed for her, and then gave her a bit of a lecture on her level of faith, and positive proclamation.

Until one day. One day when I finally had enough. Back to my problem of having more Biblical knowledge than the average pew-warmer.

James 5:14  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…

Who is without faith here???? The woman did what the Bible commanded – she went to the elders to pray for her healing. What happened? Nothing. Why? The elders didn’t have faith.

No surprise that the cell leader didn’t like me much after that. Obviously, being an aspie, it wasn’t said with tact. It was just blurted out.

Let’s think about this. If God answered EVERY prayer, EXACTLY doing what we asked, would there be any non-religious people? No. If it was that easy, the entire world would have been Christian, just to be prosperous in every facet of life! Everybody would have served God for what they could get, not because of what He already did.

I take medicine. I have to. And that is okay with me. I don’t understand why I have this condition. But I know it won’t go away. And I am okay with that. Paul had the proverbial thorn in his side, and this is probably mine. Just as God told Paul, I know today, His grace is enough for me.

So take heed. If you are a super-spiritual that will try to load condemnation on me for taking meds, you might end up with a very unchristian-like reaction.