If you have ever travelled on the Underground in London you will be familiar with the signs and announcements telling you to mind the gap. Reminders to be careful of the gap that exists between the platform and the train you are about to embark on. One of my friends though didn’t so much mind the gap as find the gap! She slipped and partly fell down the gap and had to be rescued from the semi decorous position she found herself in. In her words she says she did not drop her coffee or even spill it!
In life at some point we all transverse a gap. The gap being the space of time between the promise from God and its fulfilment. And it is good to take some advice from London’s Underground and pay attention to how we “mind the gap”.
It is this gap that we can end up in disillusionment, discouragement and despair. But it is also in this place that we can thrive. Martin Crowe, a legendary New Zealand cricket player, wrote this on his blog about the game of cricket – “This is the space between thoughts, between breaths, between fielders, between balls. They say to experience the gap wholly brings ultimate joy in what we do. In the gap there is nothing, and it’s that nothing space in which lies the secret to our purpose.”
For us, not on the field cricketers, the gap is where our character is burnished, our faith stretched and our heart strengthened. We need to remind ourselves that the gap is a place to pass through, to walk over, not our final destination. The gap is, yes as Martin Crowe said, the space between. It’s the wilderness between the Word and the Promised Land, the prison between the promise and the palace. It’s the barrenness between the Word and the birth of Issac.
Losers focus on what they are going through, champions focus on where they are going to! There is no victory without a battle, no sunrise without a midnight and no tunnel without light at the end! So if you’re in the gap, keep your focus on the destination!
Hang in there. Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. (Bear Grylls)
Whatever you do, mind the gap!
After a long flight, on disembarking, there’s nothing better than knowing that you’ve reached your destination. Except officially you haven’t. You’re still effectively in transit and depending on the size of the terminal (Singapore – enormous, Rarotonga – not so much) you have a normally wearying journey ahead before you can step out into the land of your destination. Until then, you are essentially in no man’s land. You’re not in the country that you departed from (obviously – the travel time and probably the sheer distance travelled is a somewhat strong indication of this fact). But you’re also not officially in your destination country.
I’m thinking the movie “The Terminal” here. The movie, starring Tom Hanks, based on the true story of a man who spent 17 years (17 years!!!!!) in the Terminal of Charles De Gaulle International Airport. Not allowed to leave, not allowed to stay. Nomad’s land. Not there, and not quite here.
You see, on arrival there’s a little queuing, filling out of forms, presenting of passports that needs to occur. There’s protocol that has to be completed. You have to pass through Immigration and Customs. Your arrival (in hopefully a tropical paradise?!) needs to be approved. Visa’s checked, baggage checked, yourself vetted. Permission granted.
I think this is what life is like. We have the Promise from God, but there is Terminal that we have to transverse before we can reach the provision, the promise fulfilled. For the Israelites, their time in the Terminal (i.e. Wildnerness) lasted 40 years. For Joseph it took time in a Pit and a Prison. And as different the Rarotonga Terminal is to L.A, Singapore or Heathrow, so too is the time we spend between the promise and the provision.
And like International travel where the final step of the journey is to pass through Immigration and Customs Checks, so do we often face in life that important last battle, hurdle before we enter the Promised Land. Israel had to face Jericho, Joseph stood before Pharaoh and I have grappled with British Immigration who were being, well er rather British about be me visiting.
So if you’ve had the Word, the Promise and are yet to see the fulfilment, take heart, take encouragement. You’re travelling through an Airport and that’s just part of the journey. And here’s a tip – in this time fortunately there are shops, places to refresh and rest (but not to set up camp!). So take a lesson from me – enjoy the walk through the airport.
The journey is almost over and the next about to begin.
I don’t run with scissors. Actually, let’s be honest, I don’t run (unless it’s an emergency – then you’d better run too!). But if I were to take up running (for any other reason than being late), I’d want to run in a park, on a track, down the street even and not on a treadmill! To me that just means a whole lot of energy expended for no visual progress (unless you include the digital display showing how far you have effectively run on the spot!)
I’d have to say though, that often in life, instead of running or walking down life’s road we can find ourselves stuck on a treadmill, expending just as much effort, but nonetheless going nowhere. We can be stuck in no mans land between the promise and its fulfilment with no sense of progress. A door has closed, but unlike bumbling Agent Maxwell Smart in Get Smart the next door hasn’t opened immediately on exiting the first.
It’s times like these that we need to find within ourselves the strength to keep going. To know that the fulfilment of the promise is ahead of us. It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to quit. But it takes someone of great faith to stay the course. We need to remember we have victory in our DNA. We have staying power. Through Christ, we are more than conquerors!
Don’t sit around depressed and defeated. Don’t sit down thinking of who wronged you, or what didn’t work out or what you didn’t do right. Don’t give up because the report doesn’t look good, because you tried and failed, because it is taking longer than you thought. Don’t let the setbacks keep you on the treadmill forever! You have a destiny to fulfil. Don’t give up on what God has placed in your heart!
There has to be a relentlessness on the inside of us, a refusal to quit. We need to remember that the best days are still ahead of us! To remember that God has plans to prosper us, plans to give us hope and a future.
So get off that treadmill and take to the road! Keep going, keep pressing forward – you never know what is just round the corner!