Inhabiting No Mans’ Land

attachment-e1430302595774I’m caught in an evangelistic no man’s land.

I will exalt you, my God the King…
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations…
Psalm 145:1-2,13

On one side of me I see my glorious King, risen and reigning over heaven and earth. I see multitudes of saints and angels around His throne, caught up in the ecstasy of white-hot worship. And I feel myself drawn into their number, ready to abandon all inhibition and join in their joyous, unfettered proclamation of Jesus as King.

One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. ..They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Psalm 145:3-7

But then I look in the other direction. There I see sidewalks full of regular folks, going about their everyday business with little or no reference to this supposed King. Where is He when their paycheck runs short or their partner walks out? What mighty deeds or miraculous intervention can they speak of? Life is hard and, in their estimation, the only one looking out for them is Number 1.

The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
Psalm 145:20

When I look at the proclamation of God as King through these eyes, it suddenly loses its luster. It begins to sound like a taunt instead of a tender. Aren’t His benefits only available to those who are already members of the club? Isn’t He the God who threatens to destroy those outside the club, the “wicked”? I can see how the good news that I so desperately want to proclaim would come across as slightly less than appealing.

And this is how I find myself stuck, marooned between two radically different perspectives. In this no man’s land I fall silent, relegating my worship to my private life and proclaiming God’s goodness only within the confines of the clubhouse.

…The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
Psalm 145:13-16

But when I go back to the bold, unapologetic claims of my spiritual predecessors in the Psalms, I realize that I have missed something. Those outside the “holy club” may feel like God has done nothing for them, but that doesn’t mean He hasn’t. Their very existence is testimony to His proactive love. When they were oblivious to their own existence, He formed them in their mother’s womb. When they felt vulnerable and alone, He was watching over their every step. Even though they haven’t looked to Him for food, He has repeatedly handed them both their bodies’ needs and their hearts’ desires.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:17-18

The point is that God doesn’t just take care of the people who are in His club. He actively relates to every person He has made, showering them with daily expressions of His love whether or not they return the favor. Even better, He promises to get more involved in their lives if they will turn around and ask for it.

I’m not stuck in the gap;
I’ve been called to stand in the gap.

I confess that I too often stand helplessly in the space between these two camps, wondering why God doesn’t do more to make Himself known to those who live apart from Him. How can they know to turn around and call out to Him if they don’t even know that He is there and that He cares?

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
Psalm 145:8-9

And then I realize the ridiculousness of my self-imposed predicament. I’m not stuck in the gap; I’ve been called to stand in the gap. I wonder at God’s seeming apathy towards the suffering of the world while blindly neglecting my role in bringing the news of His deliverance. I’m the one who doesn’t adequately care. I’ve been trying to pass the world off as God’s problem when all along He keeps calling me to be part of the solution.

All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Psalm 145:10-12

My role is to take His praise to the streets, not in a rubbing-it-in-your-face sort of way but with all the boldness and compassion of one who has been sent with a life-altering report. My awareness of people’s perspective should not neutralize my message. Rather it should compel me to raise their awareness of God’s reality.

No man’s land is the place where the prophets lived, the expanse that Jesus bridged, the gap that we are now called to fill.

I guess it’s not such a bad place to inhabit, after all.

7 thoughts on “Inhabiting No Mans’ Land”

    1. Lovely to hear from you, Angel. I am ashamed at my failings in this area. At the same time I am reminded all over again of His grace, which is what compels me to get up and try again. May His grace be sufficient for you in whatever situation you face.

      1. Hi Tiffany!! I love the wisdom that you share. So many times I have failed… but God’s grace and mercy are sufficient!! Many many blessings to you, my sister!!!

  1. I haven’t been able to read your blog for a while, but today, after facing a near death experience, I have been realizing my failure to do what I am called to do. Your post hit the spot. Thank you, Bob

  2. And then I realize the ridiculousness of my self-imposed predicament. I’m not stuck in the gap; I’ve been called to stand in the gap.

    You might like the following from Os Guinness’ The Gravedigger File:

        The job then was to crack the secret of the workings of faith. Or as it’s put in the trade, to analyze their handwriting—trade jargon for their habits and patterns of behavior. As you know, the philosophical strength of Christianity lies in its claim to truth, whereas the social strength of Christianity lies in its challenge to tension. It was at this second point that the break came. Let me explain.
        Part of the root meaning of the word faith is “tension” or “tautness.” There in two words is an accurate picture of the faith required of Christians. And there’s the rub. Loyalty to the Adversary in a world liberated by us makes their lives a kind of “double wrestling.” Faithfulness to him has to mean foreignness in the world. As they put it themselves, they are to live in a way that is clearly distinct in terms of space (“in” the world but not “of” it) and in terms of time (“no longer” what they were, “not yet” what they will be). Their unenviable role, as one of them has it, is to be “against the world for the world.” Let them try telling that to their next-door neighbors.
        Such a high-wire balancing act would be precarious at best, even if the poise it entails were all that’s required of them. But that is not the case, and here a further element is introduced. The Adversary has actually commanded them to be identified with the world. From his perspective, there are still a great number of positive reasons for their being in the world, the most basic of which is to seek to reclaim it for him. (24)

    1. Yep. He nailed it. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one tottering along in this balancing act. Praise God that we don’t do it alone! May His Spirit hold our feet to the wire and our hearts true to His heart.

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