Over the last weeks and months that Covid-19 has engulfed the world, there has been an outcry among the peoples of the nations as they turn to God for comfort. Some of these people are practicing Believers who have never wavered from their faith; some are returning to a faith that they abandoned; and still others are new converts seeking a relationship they have rejected in the past. Whatever the reasons, I am hopeful that the intentions of these hearts are founded in a true desire and hunger for the Lord.
I am hopeful when I see headlines on Christian websites that say, Popular Pastor Sees Thousands Come To Christ Amid Coronavirus Chaos, and another like this one, 'The BIG Reset': God Is Using The Current Crisis as a Catalyst for Global Great Awakening. And I want to believe quotes such as this: "We are coming together in a unity of heart and mind and people are praying and looking to God for answers. We are lovingly caught in the captivity of the Lord and the Enemy is losing big time!"
It is a fact that since this virus made its appearance on the world stage we have witnessed our lives slowing down, embracing a simpler lifestyle that is absent of all the distractions of the world, and yes, it's been a fantastic opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord and to have the time to seek Him. Heaven knows that we probably would not have seen these changes in our personal lives without being forced into it by the pandemic. So, I am grateful for the news that people are turning to God, and I pray that the numbers increase exponentially as the Spirit of the Lord infuses hearts.
But most of all, I pray that this "revival" is lasting. If you sense a certain amount of doubt in the tone of my words, I want to make it clear that I believe the transformation in people's lives is real. I believe that they are truly seeking a renewal of their relationship with God, whether they knew Him before or not. And the unity and prayers are genuine and authentic. And, God help me, I want to believe the hope being expressed that this is the worldwide revival we've been praying for; that it is a hope that will actually be realized.
I want to believe it! But my spirit keeps cautioning me, "Don't sell the Enemy short" and "Haven't we seen this throughout history so many times before?" How many times did the Israelites turn to God in the midst of their crises, hear His voice and experience His deliverance, and then return to their rebellious ways? After being saved from the ten plagues and the Angel of Death in Egypt, and receiving the Ten Commandments, it only took months for the Israelites to turn back to worshiping the golden calf. Of course, they rationalized it to themselves as representing "your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus 32:4).
In addition, the Old Testament is full of the history of the kings of Judah and Israel and how they led their peoples through cycles of revival and rebellion. The New Testament Churches of Christianity all began in the spirit of undaunting faith and commitment to the Lord, but we see [just in the lifespan of the Apostle John] how they struggled to stay focused on "their first love". When John received "the revelation of Jesus Christ", the Lord referred to these churches as the Loveless Church (Ephesus), the Persecuted Church (Smyrna), the Compromising Church (Pergamus), the Corrupt Church (Thyratira), the Dead Church (Sardis), and the Lukewarm Church (Laodicea). Only the Church at Philadelphia was called Faithful. But none of these Churches exist today, and in most of these cities there are no churches or Christians at all.
In our own lifetime, we saw the resurgence of faith in the Lord after September, 2001. But look how short a time that lasted and the overwhelming increase of "worldliness" and moral corruption that was eagerly received in the scant 19 years since. Again, I earnestly pray that the hope of revival we see today in the midst of this pandemic will be lasting and real! But as the hope for a return to normalcy and the opening of our economy looms before us, I have to wonder how quick will people return to their old ways? How long will this newfound spirit of revival last?
Adding to my concerns, I am hearing increased talk that we could be coming close to Jesus's return. While I agree that Biblical signs like plagues and increasing earthquakes bring that scenario to mind, I sense that what we are feeling are "the birth pangs" Jesus mentions in Matthew 24:8. In other words, we know that this age in which Satan's kingdom of darkness rules will be replaced with a new age in which we will see the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God on earth. And Jesus tells us in just a few short verses later that the end of this age will occur when the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached in all the world (Matthew 24:14). The Western Church has just begun to rediscover the truth of this Gospel, and we've a long way to go to see it spread to all the nations. And, as I don't need to remind you, "no man knows the hour or the day". However, we are to discern the season and I clearly discern the "birth pangs". So, I just want to end with a fervent prayer that this spirit of revival and renewal will grow, even as we contemplate a return to "life before Covid-19". Please pray with me:
I know that revival and repentance are at the heart of the Lord for His people. And I rejoice in the voices raised to You in this hour of our national and global crisis. The peoples of the world are hungry and thirsty for Your Word and Your Spirit! I see them being revived by Your Living Water and the Bread of Life that is our Lord, Jesus Christ. I see the power of the Holy Spirit sweeping our land, igniting a fire in the faithful and I pray that You will fan this fire into a conflagration that destroys all the works and schemes of the Enemy!
And, Father, I pray that you will break down any barriers that would impede or interfere with Your efforts to call Your chosen in this time. Let Your hand be upon each man, woman, and child of Your right hand; upon all people whom You have made strong for Your purpose of advancing Your Kingdom on the earth. Let us not turn back from You. Accelerate our ability to carry out our Kingdom assignments, and order our steps according to Your plan.
Father, let it be said of this generation that we cleansed our hands of the sins, transgressions, and iniquities of our past; purified our hearts to be worthy of You; and that in Your Mercy, You awakened our spirits to walk in Holy Fear of Your Name. Let us be Your instrument by which all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
Father, I pray that we will not abandon our hearts for this revival! When we falter, renew our strength, so that we shall run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. It is my prayer that this refreshing spirit of revival will not wane, but grow ever stronger until the whole world calls upon Your Holy and Mighty Name! This is my humble but solemn prayer. Amen!
Psalm 86:9-10 All the nations You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God.