As a teen, our daughter would have loved to live in the Gap, the then-trendy clothing store at the mall. Many of us live in the gap, but it’s a gaping hole between jobs or perhaps relationships. There are gaps in our health (I had three surgeries at three hospitals in two months for one stubborn kidney stone). And the most frightening gap of all: when God seems completely silent and absent in our lives. No one wants to live in those gaps, but they are inevitable.
There are two major gaps in the life of Jesus. The gospels provide no details between his infancy and his trip to the Temple as a twelve-year old. Then at least an eighteen-year gap between twelve-years old and the beginning of his ministry at “about thirty years old” (Luke 3:23).
But Luke 2 fills in those gaps with two short—but extremely important—verses. Between infancy and pre-teen:
There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him (2:40).
And between twelve and about thirty:
And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people (2:52).
We rarely think of Jesus, the Son of God, needing to grow in wisdom and maturity, but that is exactly what Luke records.
As gaps open up in my life, my first reaction is to panic or get depressed. But the gap is also a time that God, in His grace, can help us to mature and grow through the experience.
Are you living in the gap? I pray that God’s grace and the blessing of the people who love you, will make this a time of spiritual growth. And I pray that it won’t last twelve or eighteen years!
[Originally posted June 15, 2008, while I was in the gap undergoing radiation treatments for cancer. I’ve been cancer-free since October 2008!]