I Was There – Standing in the Gap (Nov-Dec 1997)

By Matt Dabbs

by Ron Rose
November – December, 1997

29Thirty-nine Fort Worth adventurers squeezed through the massive crowd.

We were late in arriving, but just in time to experience sensory overload. We were cautiously, but expectantly, walking into the overflowing unknown. It was to become our day of promise.

I had come to be a part of a historical event. I came searching for something beyond the politics and controversies of our times. I came anticipating a spiritual adventure. I came longing for an epiphany – a life-changing experience – a soul moment. I cam, along with my friends, to renew our relationship with the God of creation. I came looking for holy ground. And, during the hours of non-stop singing, praying, listening, confessing, forgiving, and encouraging, surrounded by over a million like-minded men, my spirit was revived and rekindled. I discovered holy ground. I heard one speaker put it this way, “So many before us have come to this Mall to claim rights; we have come to confess wrongs.”

The day was humbling and empowering at the same time. I left the Mall [in Washington, D.C.] possessing in my heart everything I had come for, and more.

That night as we sat around in the darkness of an empty church building discussing the wonders of the day, one thing became crystal clear: we were to a man, better for having made the trip . We had all learned something deeply personal about ourselves.

Those who had difficulty in the past revealing their feelings, now eagerly opened their hearts expressing their fears and frustrations and failures. We discovered our need for each other. We cried together, laughed together, blessed each other, prayed for each other, sang together, and together we shaped a new image of manhood. That image will be developing for at least a generation, but it has begun. These were moments of healing and hoping.

After what must have been an hour of re-living highlights of the day, a relative newcomer to our group spoke up. “You guys don’t really know me,” he began. “I came because I’d never seen D.C., but I’ve seen something I didn’t expect. I’ve seen what it really means to be a man. I didn’t know men prayed, or cried, or confessed wrongs, or talked about their personal lives. That’s the kind of man I want to be.”

For those who experienced Standing in the Gap, a fresh vision of manhood was initiated. And it’s still developing.

I stayed over in D.C. for a couple of days. As I wandered the hillside around the Capitol building I overheard a couple of security guards talking.

“Did you have to work Saturday?” one asked.

She responded, “Yes, it was the best day I’ve ever spent on this job!”

“No way,” he said.

She explained, “Those guys smiled. They were polite and kind and they smiled. Do you know how long it’s been since the people around here have smiled?”

He shook his head and mumbled, “Too long … too long.”

The trip to D.C. was unrivaled. I’m glad I was there; it was a historic moment. When I left town the next morning, I vowed to start my life, after Standing in the Gap, by smiling more. It’s working pretty well.Wineskins Magazine

Ron Rose

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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