So What Is God Saying?
What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was observing the 40th anniversary of the writing of “More Precious Than Silver,” and recounting the great things God did in my life through it. Now? I’m only beginning to peer out from under the shadow of a months-long quarantine imposed by state governments on the nation’s healthy people. We’ve all been hunkered down at home in an extended civil “Passover” lest we unwittingly spread this nasty little virus known as COVID-19, or even succumb to it ourselves.
In the beginning, being stuck at home was almost an adventure, sort of like camping out. I say “almost” because no one suddenly responsible for the home-school education of their children called this an adventure (a trauma was more like it). We took stock of our pantries and got creative with the food on hand until we could get to the store again. When we did go out for groceries, it was unsettling to see shelves picked over and even bare of certain items. Hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes were suddenly as desirable as gold, and there was no toilet paper to be found anywhere (I never understood the run on toilet paper; you can’t eat toilet paper). And we tried to keep busy at home. We hauled bags of mulch home from the local garden center and gave our yards a spring spruce-up. We posted funny memes on social media, joking about the ‘Rona, and our quarantine garb and hair styles. Anything to lighten our moods as the uncertainty grew. We cleaned out closets and garages and dryer vents and tackled every home maintenance project we could think of. I pulled out my Coleman stove for the first time in years and fired it up to make sure it still worked.
Our national “adventure” got old pretty quickly though. A robust and thriving economy took a nose-dive as business shut-downs were ordered (foolishly, in my opinion). Those who could began to work from home and were grateful do so, as so many others were suddenly out of work. Pay checks for too many disappeared. Churches and community food banks were quickly stretched beyond capacity in order to meet the need for food by the newly unemployed. The weaknesses and often inept leadership of government bureaucracy was exposed for all to see by the unprecedented stresses placed upon it.
Some of us decided a spiritual reset was in order and began to still ourselves in God’s presence in order to listen to the Holy Spirit more intentionally. “Lord, what’s going on? What are you trying to say to me that I was too busy to hear before?” And we ventured beyond our personal concerns to pray, “Lord, what are you saying to Your people? What are you doing in our nation and in the whole world?” I believe God has been speaking to many. We’ve tried to encourage one another with “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” posted on our Facebook timelines, for praise and worship are powerful weapons of spiritual warfare against fear and despair. I thank God for all you psalmists and musicians on social media who have blessed us with your gifts.
Periods of stillness are good from time to time. They become a place for the Spirit of God to pool around us, collecting in a deep well to refresh us in His love and to remind us of His purpose for our lives. But we are built for mission and productivity. So as the national shut-down dragged on, we Christians have chafed right alongside the rest of the country under the onerous restrictions on our lives. We’re (mostly) law-abiding, but we’ve “smelled a rat” in the decisions to close churches and small businesses but keep large box stores open. The discerning tried to sound the alarm to our local officials that such measures were doing a great deal more harm than good, but often to no avail. Some would say that only a blind person could not see the eruption that was coming. And it came.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was senselessly killed by a Minneapolis policeman, “murdered on national television,” as one Youtube commentator put it (by now you know this story all too well, so I won’t recount it here). The outrage was immediate and justified. Peaceful protests broke out across the nation, but quickly turned demonically violent as the political anarchists moved in to throw gasoline – both literally and figuratively – on the flames of the nation’s anger.
http://youtu.be/UToilE4gU7I ONLY THE FEAR OF GOD CAN SAVE US NOW – R. Loren Sandford with the Daily Word in the Crisis
Back to the spiritual reset I mentioned earlier: Just what IS God saying through all of this terrible business, if anything? The wounds of a nation are found in the people of a nation. Is it possible that God Himself engineered our shutdown in order to tear the scab off a festering national wound, that it might finally be healed? Did the COVID-19 shutdown create the pressure needed to send the Church into greater prayer and service, even as the heart-stricken poured into the streets to protest what happened to Mr. Floyd? Would the evil intentions of those who seek our complete destruction ever have been made so plain to the American public? Would we be having the conversations we are beginning to have any other way?
We the Church recognize the need for a new Great Awakening to take hold of our beloved nation. But revival happens one heart at a time. So let’s seek the Lord. Let’s PRAY like never before, because there is no going “back to normal” from here. “Normal” is broken. And let’s physically GATHER as the Church, however and whenever we can for prayer, storing up incense in heaven with our worship and intercession for the sake of earth. (Matthew 18:20; Revelation 8:3-5)
As to the future, all those who abuse their power at any level of government in any place in the world will soon cease to be suppressors and abusers. The end of the age fast approaches and the cry of “Babylon has fallen!” will arise. Be encouraged, saints! The trouble you see right now is the kingdoms of this world in the slow free-fall toward total collapse. God will shake every corrupt and evil construct until the only thing left standing is His glorious Kingdom.
“25 Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! 26 When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. 28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.” Hebrews 12:25-29 (NLT)