One of the only benefits and joys of recently driving 1,645 miles from the East Coast back out West to our home in Colorado (with four kids seven and under), was worshiping and praying through the night. There is nothing sweeter than spending time with the Lord and seeing what he reveals of himself and speaks to your heart. I encourage you to make time or take advantage of certain opportunities to simply wait upon the Lord and draw near to him. Scripture promises that if we seek him we will find him (Jeremiah 29:13) and if we draw near to him he will draw near to us (James 4:8). Below are just a few things that came out of that time through the night that I thought may be of encouragement to some who will read this.
- We don’t think on and anticipate nearly enough eternal realities.
“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine, the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations, he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6-9).
Think how amazing this day and these realities in his kingdom will be! Have you ever been a part of a joyful and festive celebration? Those moments or times are mini-pictures of an age that will dawn when Christ returns. It will be the most joyful, enjoyable, pure and festive celebration you could possible imagine. No more death. No more pain. No more suffering. No more lack. What a time of rejoicing it will be! How our hearts even now ought to eagerly look forward to and rejoice by faith, in this coming reality when we will take our places along with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the other saints and people of God through the ages! (Luke 13:29).
- For those who have been going through “storms” within God’s will, a new and very different kind of “storm” is coming.
The Lord has different ways of speaking to us. As we began our drive, we kept hitting different spots where it began to rain or had rained. At one point we were even “enclosed” in a storm where lightening was lighting up the night sky in a beautiful way. This storm was different. It wasn’t threatening. It was actually peaceful and powerful. It reminded me of how Jesus described his second coming would be “as lightening lights up the sky” (Matthew 24:27). That day will be a dreadful and terrible day for the unsaved for sure; but for the redeemed it is our very hope and anticipation. When Jesus comes it means blessing for his people; but judgment for his enemies (2 Thessalonians 1:5-12).
I sensed a new “storm” was coming and breaking forth. This was a storm of blessing, encouragement, breakthrough, answered prayer and demonstrations of God’s power on behalf of his faithful people. It was a storm about to break out on those who have been persisting in prayer like Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:41-45). He interceded intensely (in faith) for rain to fall on the land for quite some time before anything began to happen. But when a cloud the size of a man’s fist began to form, it wasn’t long before that cloud grew much larger and the heavens began to pour down rain. That rain was a storm of blessing for there had been a famine in the land for quite some time. I sensed the Lord saying “get ready!” For those who have been praying and preparing themselves he is about to respond to their cries. I believe some of these things are beginning now, and will only increase going into the fall months. Your “sowing” is not in vain (Psalm 30:15). Keep praying and don’t give up! (Luke 18:1-8). I believe some things will also begin to “align” more fully and make more sense as God has been repositioning many of his people for “such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14). This has been a season of “preparation” as God works to use us for his purposes.
- “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4).
People are literally going crazy and coming unglued. Chaos is all around us. Everything that can be shaken is (and will be) shaken (Hebrews 12:27-29). Even believers are without peace and living in perpetual fear and anxiety. We seem obsessed with darkness rather than remaining focused on the Lord. It is crucial, and will be quite a testimony, that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3) and walk in his supernatural peace (Philippians 4:6-7). He is our strength and stability. He gives us the endurance we need no matter our trials (Psalm 46). He is our “light and salvation” delivering us from fear regardless of our circumstances (Psalm 27). Rather than being full of fear and complaining we need to trust the Lord and be thankful as we are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:28).
- Walk in a “quiet confidence.”
Scripture exhorts us: “Do not fret because of evil men” (Psalm 37:1). We are also not to strive or stress in general. God is calling us to wait patiently in a full confidence that He will grant us the victory. Think of the Israelites marching around Jericho for seven days. While the priests were to sound the trumpets, the people were instructed to not give a “war cry” or raise their voices or even say a word…until the day God would tell them to “shout.” (Joshua 6:10).
Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us there is a time to “speak” and a time to remain “silent.” There are times and situations where God calls us to not say a word or make a sound…but to stay silent and pray. This is an issue and area of trust. Don’t fret, don’t strive, don’t argue, don’t make “all kinds of noise” and get “worked up.” Walk in a “quiet confidence” and trust that the “battle belongs to the Lord” (1 Samuel 17:47).
This may have application in regard to an unsaved family member or friend. Instead of “nagging” or arguing with them…pray for them. 1 Peter 3:2 for example, talks about a saved spouse winning over their unsaved spouse not with “words” or “arguing” but by the “quiet” (godly) behavior of their life.
But there is a time to pray and a time to “act.” There is a time to intercede and a time to evangelize. I believe now is the time for the prayer “warriors” to arise and “march” before the “enemies” camp in a quiet confidence in the Lord. The time will come to “speak.” When done at God’s command or instruction “walls” will crumble. Strongholds will be broken. People will be set free. It’s crucial we follow the Lord’s leading and know what “season” we are in or what each situation calls for timing wise. When I played baseball/softball “waiting on the ball” often made all the difference between hitting it weakly or with power. Doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time/timing is crucial in so many areas of life. That is no less applicable in regard to “spiritual” things. Scripture exhorts us in fact to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
I encourage you to press in more than ever during this season. Draw close to the Lord. Listen for his voice. Seek his face. Spend extended time just saying “Lord here I am…speak for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Follow his leading. Obey his voice. Trust him.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3).