We’re in a season right now where, as bad things are happening in our country, there is an opportunity for the church to move.
Believers need to awaken from the common, nominal, social-club version of Christianity. Those who are oftentimes coming to church for the social life or the feel-good messages are realizing that they don’t have answers for the problems plaguing our culture now. The hyper-faith and prosperity messages that come on Sunday mornings aren’t cutting it anymore. People are realizing, “Okay, you promised me everything’s going to be a blessing, and this is the year of favor and prosperity. But I don’t see those in my life. In fact, I’m suffering right now.”
People are hungry for something deeper. It’s very likely that the hand of God is involved in this. There’s great potential here for the church to be revived and come into a season of spiritual awakening. I’m not just talking about more souls won for Christ, although I do believe that will be the case; I’m talking about more depth in existing believers as well.
In the season right now, when people are looking for answers, I’m afraid the answers often end up being “Don’t fear” or “You’re going to be okay” or “God’s with you.” What if, instead, the church began to go a little deeper? What if believers grew mature enough to ask in their suffering, “Who do I believe God is? Who does the Bible say God is? What does that mean for my season of suffering?”
There’s a purpose for the valley of the shadow of death. There’s a purpose for the table being set before me in the presence of my enemies. We didn’t set that table; God set it. So there’s a purpose for our enemies. There’s a purpose for suffering.
This is when we discover the significance in Paul’s words, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5, ESV). Once we understand this and live it out, then the church can rise up in strength as a light to the nations.