Walking through the chaos
One of the things I learned was the symbolism of oceans and seas as a picture of chaos; it was common to view it that way in ancient near east culture, and you can see that in the Bible as well.
2020 has been a vast ocean.
Wild fires in Australia, locust swarms in Africa, impeachment proceedings of the American president, a global pandemic, another Ebola outbreak, protests and riots, plummeting economies, suicides, division, a celebration of godlessness where good is evil and evil is good...
We're drowning in that ocean.
Last night, as I was praying for the country and, even more, for a mighty revival of God just one more time across the globe, a picture came to mind. I thought of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, of how God, as either a mighty pillar of fire or of cloud, directed them through and protected them from the oncoming destroyers. The water parted, pushed back on either side, God's people crossing through that sea, feet staying dry, to the promised land.
And then, the chaos crashed down and drowned the enemy.
God is doing the work.
God is providing a way through the chaos.
God is clearing the path.
But there was more, because that isn't so difficult to see or understand from that Bible passage. I have felt that people, even Christians, have become almost unable to step onto the way through. They are looking at the towering walls of chaos on both sides of them, and are either so fearful they cannot move forward, are so distracted by the fish swimming in the water, or are content to sit on the shore and watch the show.
I understand the fear, and I want to be gentle (more than I have been) with others.
I am highly frustrated by the distracted and those on the sidelines, however.
We have Christian leaders with vast public platforms and much power to sway and influence, and they are turning everything into a "gospel issue." Maybe they think that's a foot in the door to mentioning "faith" on a news show. Maybe they think if they dangle the bait of current trend in front of people, they might get hooked on Jesus at some point. I don't know what they think, because God provides social justice! God redeems the earth! God fights the battles! God judges our sin! God doesn't hold us accountable for something we didn't do! We are not called to seek anything but Him. When we do that, we can love the people in our lives and our sphere. In the simple act of loving each person He puts in our lives, the rest falls into place.
Yet we go looking for fights. We take on guilt for things we never personally did. We jump on trending social media bandwagons to placate something in ourselves or avoid being accused of something. We allow ourselves to be completely manipulated by the media. We are more interested in having the right exterior activity that we let the interior rot. The enemy is using pride and guilt and anger and fear and greed, overwhelming us with a stench too many are unable to name. There is so much chaos, like sticky spider web strands blowing around and pulling us in for the kill.
You have but one thing to do now.
It's not a social media hashtag. It's not another program or church series. It's not using your platform for influence or even maintaining your platform. It's not taking what the Holy Spirit has been directing you to do for the people in your life and in your situation and turning it into a system or program or book on how others could and should do the same thing. It's not political. It's not grandiose statements on whatever the media and mob currently demand we respond to, as if there were no other important things.
No. There is only one thing.
You should be praying.
Pray when you walk. Pray in the kitchen. Pray mowing the lawn. Pray on your drive to work. Pray in the shower. Pray on vacation. Pray at work. Pray.
Pray for revival. Pray for our leaders. Pray for the protection of those who are innocent. Pray that you and other people would have their eyes opened and for godly discernment. Pray that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would reach to all nations and all peoples of the earth. Pray for the church to not be satisfied with programs and books and tradition and social activism, but instead craves the holiness of God and his fire to sweep the land.
The church seems to have adopted a system, and all the current hot-button issues are plugged into that system and churned out for a matched and orderly approach, as if our system of order would stand against the chaos.
Environment? Slavery? Racism? Violence? Drop it in, and out comes the right sermons, graphics, videos, book deals, Bible study DVDs and study guides, church promotions, merchandise, conference speakers, photo ops, and helpful activities.
The works are the fruit. We have a massive grove of rotting trees. We need the trees revived, pruned, and even burned and removed first. We are distracted because we're so busy trying to polish and perfect the fruit that we don't see the rot in the tree! The chaos is all around, and we're trying to coax worms out of fruit.
"But Julie, _________ is a gospel issue because ______________."
You are being distracted by the chaos! Our time is short. As believers, our message must be simple at this point: do you know the Good News of Jesus Christ, and if not, may I tell you? There is no other message. There is no other name. There is no other hope. There is nothing but Jesus. When that message is broadcast, all the rest falls into place.
Jesus Christ is the only way to God. In Jesus, we have true life, eternal life. There is no other way but by and through Jesus.
In Jesus, there is peace. In Jesus, there is hope. In Jesus, there is life. In Jesus, there is a future. In Jesus, we are made strong even when we feel weak and have pain. In Jesus, all things are held together, and ultimately will work together for what God has planned AND HAS TOLD US IN HIS WORD, and that plan will NOT be thwarted by any form of evil, no matter how powerful, how unstoppable, or how deceptively beautiful and sensical it may seem.
Please watch the video below. If you don't like President Trump, that's fine. Politics won't save us. Just watch to the end. We have a window. We have a moment. Do you want to get through the chaos to the other side, or drown in distraction?
PLEASE PRAY FOR REVIVAL. Ask for it in your own heart, and for the nation and world.