People right, left and center believe there is trouble in the United States of America and that we are more divided than we have ever been. Both sides accusing the other of fake news and spreading false information.
As Christians, we look at our world and wonder if these are indeed the last days before the great tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ. It appears that the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is happening right before our eyes.
The left is pushing hard the very sins of Revelation 9:21 as they promote abortion, eliminate the death penalty, legalize harmful drugs, defend all forms of sexual immorality, and the stealing of personal wealth through envy.
This can have the effect of sending Christians to their collective bunkers and await the rapture. Especially when we are silenced by Big Tech or denounced by the elite class.
Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world. He also promised that we would be blessed when we were persecuted for His name’s sake. He wants us to not only hold the line but to advance the Kingdom of God.
From time to time in American history, there have been what we call revivals. When the nation returns to God, some pretty amazing things happen. The first Great Awakening happened just before our nation’s founding and the Revolutionary War. Coincidence? I think not.
The Second Great Awakening occurred just before the Civil War and the fight to free enslaved people in the south. A similar return to the Lord occurred before liberating the slaves of Great Brittan producing great hymns of praise such as Amazing Grace.
There have been many ebbs and flows in human history that are not recorded as well as the two Great Awakenings, the pendulum has swung back and forth from our society approaching the brink of judgment and destruction to sending out missionaries in obedience to God’s call to share the gospel around the world.
Examples of these “smaller” revivals would include the sinful times of the roaring ’20s leading to the turning back to God of the ’30s which in turn was used by the Lord to fight the evil rising worldwide and establish the modern state of Israel.
The revival of the late seventies countered the defeatist mindset following the resignation of Richard Nixon and the presidency of the progenitor of Barak Obama, Jimmy Carter. This brought about the election of Ronald Regan and eventually the defeat of the Soviet Union.
Obviously, these are but the broad strokes of history but are these purely acts of God with no input from believers, or is there something we can do to bring about revival in 2021 when there seems to be such hopelessness for America and Christianity.
The answer, I believe, lies in the history told in Daniel 9. Daniel was reading the prophecies of Jerimiah and discovered that the time of exile was coming to an end, but he did not take the declaration for granted and began to pray and fast, with sackcloth and ashes.
This is much different from our modern reaction to biblical prophecy where we are waiting for God to act as we shelter in place hoping that we will survive the storm. There does need to be a move of God for sure, but He chooses to work with His people and He calls on His people to act.
When Jesus ascended to heaven, His disciples expected His immediate return, yet they got to the work of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ after much prayer and fasting. In fact, they dedicated themselves to this so much that they created the office of the deacon.
Scholars have researched revivals of the past and found that before each one there was a movement among God’s people to pray and fast. This aligns with 2 Chronicles 7:14 that says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The truth is that America is under the curse of Deuteronomy 28. We see this in our reproduction rate, our food supply, our debt, and even our immigration policy. The cure is not to elect any more crazy people to issue more executive orders. Nor is it to change the hearts and minds of people using the various tools we have available.
Rather, if we want something better, we should look to Jesus. I am not talking about a cursory prayer or skipping a meal or two, but true prayer and fasting while seeking the grace and forgiveness of the Lord.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of a great cloud of witnesses that has come before us that the world was not worthy to host. How many of us today, claiming to be followers of Jesus, have even a fraction of the grit these believers had? They endured such persecution and yet still they prayed and fasted for people who would hurt them badly for speaking the truth in love.
I believe there are such men and women today but are they found in enough of our churches to have an impact on this broken world? I am optimistic yet realistic that we may be living in the last days. Even if that were true, I believe we are still called to fast and pray, to share the gospel even if no one listens.
There can indeed be another revival if you will have it.