There is a current epidemic in the church and that is one of fear and unbelief. Many believers have been shaken after months of lockdown and many tragic experiences. Recently I lost my spiritual father to Covid, and it was a very difficult day for me where I wept and prayed upon the news. Two weeks prior to that I was able to speak with him through a FaceTime conversation where we were able to catch up and reconnect. I never thought it would be the last time I would see him on this side of eternity.
It really shook me and made me realize how short this life is. So, while we are here on this earth, we need to live our full potential in God and never hide in the cave of fear. The enemy has tried to paralyze many believers by filling them with overwhelming fear. While I know we are living in critical times, I am also aware what the Bible says about these times. Jesus didn’t speak of one pandemic, but he said that in the end times there would be many pestilences (Luke 21:11). So having realized this we need to evaluate how vital our time here on earth is and never take for granted our destiny and calling in this amazing chapter of life.
It is important to realize the gravity of this pandemic and the effect it is having on many believers in the church who are afraid to step out and embrace their destiny in Christ.
Barna recently released a statistic which says 1 out of 3 believers in America stopped going to church during the height of the pandemic. Sadly, many churches were not able to weather the storm and thousands had to shut down permanently. I understand out of an abundance of wisdom and caution many people have decided to put their lives on hold. However, the question begging to be asked is this: Are we going to live in fear of the unexpected and the unknown or are we going to trust God even when the world seems in constant turmoil?
Jesus spoke about these times and warned us that many people were going to lose sight of what was happening, that they would grow cold, and even be deceived. I believe that in this present hour we are seeing a pandemic of fear and unbelief that has gripped the lives of millions of believers who are still holding on to the past, waiting for the storm to pass, and for things to return to normal.
I have news for you my dear friend, the world will never be the same and as a result the church must embrace the challenges and changes brought on by this pandemic. I am convinced that we are living in the most exciting time in church history where God is going to turn this dark hour into one of the greatest seasons of revival and HARVEST! The world may never be the same, but this is nothing new because every time there has been a major shift in history it has also changed the church and as changes occur, we need to embrace our heavenly identity and our eternal purpose.
When the church went through World War I, there was a great revival happening right in the middle of so much chaos and death. What most people don’t realize is that the world was consumed in war and sickness at the beginning of the 19th century. The Spanish Flu happened right around the same time that war broke out. It was estimated that 50 million people lost their life during that pandemic and millions died as a result of the war. It was a time filled with hopelessness and darkness for the world BUT NOT for the church!
The remnant in those days understood the power of prayer and thousands of believers were gathering to pray in Ireland and the United States. In 1859 the house prayer movement emerged thanks to the great revival in Ireland. This prayer movement prepared the way for the greatest awakening at the turn of the century. From the other side of the Atlantic all the way to Los Angeles, California revival fire began to burn with great intensity as a group of believers began to pray with much fervor and passion in a small house on Azusa Street.
When revival broke out they moved from the small house to a tent and thousands of people traveled from all over the world to witness the greatest miracles and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the early 1900s a man named William Seymour was used by God to minister in one of the most pivotal moments in church history. Though the world was going through so much suffering and darkness, God lit a flame of hope in California that became a beacon of light to the nations and gave birth to the Pentecostal Church era.
The same thing happened around the time that World War II broke out. More than six million Jews were massacred during one of the darkest periods of human history known as the Holocaust. Despite what was happening on the other side of the world, God began to use great men and women who made revival history in those days. The flames of revival from the 1910s were still burning with great power in the United States and thousands of people were being saved during the Tent Revival era.
Even with so much pain and suffering in the world the remnant never stopped and the church continued growing. The revival in the 40s and 50s gave birth to the massive Crusade era where thousands of peopled filled up stadiums and gave their lives to Jesus. I am thankful for so many generals whose lives are remarkable examples of great courage and faith during the darkest periods of the past century.
I strongly believe that we are yet to see another resurgence of revival in the 21st century and unlike the past revivals this one will be very different! I believe this coming awakening will be championed not by a church or individual but by the remnant. God is going to collectively use the church with great power, signs, and miracles. Every believer will be part of this great move of God.
This current pandemic has managed to capture our attention because we have not seen anything like it in the past few decades. But I believe God is preparing the soil of the nations for His people to reap a GREAT harvest! It is time for many to realize that eternal value is much more significant than valuing the things of this world. Jesus said that those who try to save their life will lose it but those who give their life will win it. Matthew 16:25: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”.
The apostle Paul said that we need to set our eyes on the eternal reality of Christ even when the stormy winds and the dark clouds are lashing against our boat. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”.(Colossians 3:1-2 ESV)
It is time to shake off the fear, unbelief and apathy that has caused many to stumble in the past two years. We need to set our eyes on the eternal reality of heaven. This world is only temporary housing, but our eternal abode is what we need to look forward to. We cannot stop living our God given destiny especially during times of uncertainty and great chaos. We cannot stop dreaming and walking in our God-given inheritance just because we are too afraid to overcome the challenges in this spiritual climate. We must be rid of all fear as we understand that Christ is preparing us through the Holy Spirit for one of the greatest hours in church history.
Many of our fathers in the faith waited for this hour and now here we are, we have been called to have a front-row seat and co-labor with heaven in this amazing decade of evangelism. I am not downplaying the circumstances we face nor am I ignoring the feeling of many believers as we navigate through this storm. We must look up and realize that God is working in this world and that His hand is moving mightily and swiftly bringing together one of the greatest armies for a very special assignment. The question is, are you going to settle in fear and never find out what God can do through you or are you going to step out and be led by the Holy Spirit?
Today, God wants to fill you with His power and renew your strength as you embrace this hour of unpredictable circumstances and stand in the gap fighting the battle. There will be great pressure and even temptation for many to compromise their conviction, but I believe the Lord will protect His people. May those that are called and sealed by the Holy Spirit during this time, shine and overcome the greatest pandemic in this world, the pandemic of fear!