By Randy C. Davis
President and executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
But it got worse.
Politics and political parties were in upheaval, and in less than five years a president, a presidential candidate and a globally recognized American civil rights leader were all assassinated.
But it got worse.
Cities burned in protest of a war costing tens of thousands of military lives, and the Pentagon, the epicenter of the U.S. military, was assaulted by over 50,000 protesters as they breached the gates.
No peace. High anxiety. Massive political, social and racial divides. History seems to be repeating itself. It was the 1960s bleeding into the 1970s, but it reads like 2020 bleeding into 2021. We seem to be going from bad to worse during the COVID-19 pandemic claiming nearly 400,000 lives. Everything feels out of control. What to do?
Throughout Scripture, those two words land with unwavering certainty and offer profound stability. When darkness has seemingly swallowed the light, God steps in and levels authoritative control over the affairs of man. And where God asserts His authority, He always accomplishes His purposes.
Spiritual revival followed the disarray of the 60s. The 70s saw the Jesus Movement take hold. I was there. I saw it and it was a mighty movement of God. Churches filled whenever the doors opened. Spiritual awakening shook college campuses. People prayed continuously and into the early morning hours. Thousands answered God’s call to ministry. It was an exciting time.
Our nation was hurting then, as it is now, but there is always great hope in Christ. The time is ripe and I believe we can again see a sweeping national spiritual awakening like we haven’t seen in 50 years.
God wants that too, and even tells us how to make it happen. “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 I will heal their land and forgive their sins” (I Chronicles 7:14).
Notice four profoundly simple steps:
Humble ourselves. We live in a culture where everyone is posturing. Politicians, athletes, businesspeople and unfortunately, people who claim to be Christians. People don’t seem satisfied until others submit to their perspectives. However, Scripture tells us that God “resists the proud.” Proverbs repeatedly warns us of the folly of the prideful. The book of Isaiah is filled with examples of God crushing the arrogant. Pride is central to the heart of fallen humanity, but God reminds us that humility is central to the disciple of Christ.
Pray. Such a simple directive and the first call to action after approaching God in humility. Unfortunately, we pursue cultural correction through political means and press our outrage in a cacophony of vitriolic noise on social media. I often wonder if God isn’t thinking, “Well, quit griping, pouting and Tweeting — and pray.” Pray for our country, pray for our leaders (regardless of political party), pray for peace, pray for the hearts of others, pray for your own heart. Pray without ceasing!
Seek God’s face. Whose agenda do you seek? A Republican agenda? A Democratic? Black Lives Matter? MAGA? Everyone has an agenda, positioning it to reign supreme above everyone else’s. But what if God’s people forsook all other agendas in pursuit of God’s agenda? We know God’s agenda is for us to love Him and love others; to serve others in word and deed, which includes sharing the Good News of our marvelous Savior. God’s agenda is hardly a mystery, but by seeking His face we are making the conscious decision to do His work in His way, not His work in our way.
Turn from our wicked ways. Honestly, how can we call the world to repentance when too often we as God’s people are guilty of the same sins? There is such a great need among God’s people to passionately pursue holiness. Standing on a political platform with a Bible in our hand will not bring about the change we seek. Change comes from standing on the platform of personal holiness and lifting high the cross of Christ. Humility and prayer lead to confession, repentance and holiness.
Then look at the promise. God will hear our prayers and He will heal our land. It’s that simple. Our land is not being healed because God is not fulfilling His promise. It is not being healed because we are not fulfilling His expectation of us.
God gave us the road map. The question is, will we follow it to bring a word of hope to a world of hurt?
It is a joy to be on this journey with you. B&R