In Jeremiah 5:1 God says that if He could find one man who loves truth and will do righteousness, He could forgive the whole city of Jerusalem its sin.
In Ezekiel 22:30 God looks for a person to stand in the gap and make up the hedge so He does not have to destroy the land.
Isaiah 59:15-16 says, “…The Lord saw it [Jerusalem] and it displeased Him that there was no judgment. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor….”
Can one person make a difference? What kind of person does God need? He is looking for an intercessor or one to intervene. The basis of the Hebrew word used there is “to meet or encounter.” So He is looking for a person who causes two persons who are separated to meet.
How do we get Him and His answer together with this incredible need in the church? He looks for someone who can cause Him in His adequacy to meet the need in the church – an intercessor.
Bearing God’s Burden with Him
Let me tell you a story about Amy Carmichael. About 1895 she went from Britain as a missionary to India. In India she became very aware of the temple girls. When a father died, they burned his wife’s body with him because they believed he would need her in the next life to serve him. That left the children with no parents. The boys were no problem because they would bring in income, but who wanted girls? So they gave the girls to the gods, and put them in the temples and they became prostitutes. Amy Carmichael’s heart was broken to see these twelve or thirteen-year-old girls serving prostitutional purposes in the temple. She began working to get them out. She was able to get some out and was effective enough that the temple priest got concerned. So the temple priest went to the Indian businessmen. The Indian businessmen went to the British businessmen and said that a Britisher was creating problems. The British businessmen went to the British missionaries and said that one of their number was creating problems. The British missionaries came to Amy and said, “You have to quit this.” She asked, “What about the girls?” and they said, “Yes, that is tragic, but you are creating problems and it is going to be too damaging, so you will have to stop this.”
At that time she was working to get a girl out of the temple. She thought that the chief priest of the temple, being a religious man, was bound to have decency and compassion in him, but she slowly began to realize from the steely look in his eye and the granite lines in his face, that the girl was a means of bringing in money and he did not want to turn her loose. So Amy had everyone against her. She went to her room, a single missionary girl, got down on her knees, and said, “God, it’s not my problem. I have done everything I know to do and it’s not working. It’s not my problem.”
Suddenly she saw the Lord. He wasn’t kneeling under a Middle Eastern olive tree. He was kneeling under an Indian tree, and as He knelt there were two streams of tears coming down His face. Suddenly He fixed His penetrating gaze upon Amy. And He said, “Amy, it’s not your problem. It’s Mine. I’m just looking for someone who will help Me bear it.”
“Surely He hath borne our griefs [pains] and carried our sorrows [sicknesses]…” (Isa. 53:4). Jesus bore them – took them. Remember the story of Abraham before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, how He said in effect, “Shall I share with Abraham what I am about to do?” (Gen. 18:17), and that led to Abraham’s intercession.
The only hope for anyone whom I am responsible for is for his/her problem to become my problem, to where I carry it within me. When that happens, it is not my problem really, it’s His. You get a burden in your heart. You don’t sleep quite as well, and you find yourself waking up in the night. You are profoundly concerned about a son, a child, a church, a church member, a friend, a country. It is a burden. An inner voice says, “I have given you the privilege of entering into the burden that is in My heart for a world that is lost.” That is what Romans is talking about when it talks about the Holy Spirit’s unspeakable burden (Rom. 8:26-27). He enters into that unspeakable pain that is in the heart of God. He permits me to enter into it. I have the privilege of entering into His heartache. There is such promise in it.
God said to Amy Carmichael, “It’s My burden, and I am looking for someone to share it.”
Some way or other intercession helps open the way for love to flow from God through us to another person. This is true even if the other person doesn’t know anything about the one who is doing the intercession and the praying. In conversions you find that somewhere somebody was that point of contact. Nobody comes alone into the kingdom. We come in webs of relationships.
God needs intercessors. Who will be one?
– Excerpted from an earlier Herald.