If ever there was a time when believers and churches needed to focus on God’s great hope in Jesus, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic — along with all the racial, social, political, economic and spiritual unrest that has gripped our nation — has, in many ways, cast a cloud of hopelessness and uncertainty about the future in America.
However, throughout history, God has always used seasons of crises and unrest as a way of getting people’s attention and reorienting them unto Himself and His activity in their world. The apostle Paul knew that difficult and uncertain times can produce fertile soil for God to pour out His great hope in Jesus upon believers and unbelievers alike. Notice his prayer in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NKJV).
Peter also writes regarding this hope in 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The Psalter cried out for this same hope when he said, “Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You” (Psalm 33:22).
Because of all the unrest and struggles present in America today, it is evident that God is not pleased with His people or our nation as a whole. God is squeezing and judging His people and America because we have departed from Him in our sin. Throughout history, God has always done some of His greatest work reviving His church and awakening the lost during times of great spiritual darkness and crises.
Isaiah the prophet declared in Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” Thus, according to Isaiah, it is always essential for God’s people to recognize His “kairos” (or opportune) times so that they may earnestly cry out to Him and seek Him through fervent prayer during those times.
Throughout history, God has always used seasons of crises and unrest as a way of getting people’s attention and reorienting them unto Himself.
Biblically and historically, God has primarily sent revival among His people and spiritual awakening among the lost during three seasons of His “kairos” time:
- When believers were prayerfully dependent upon Him through humble, one-accord prayer that is focused on His kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven (e.g., Acts 4:23-33).
- When believers desperately prayed and longed for God’s renewed presence and favor as they sought His face, repented of their sin, and returned to Him during seasons of immense spiritual famine and unrest (Isaiah 6:1-13).
- When believers earnestly prayed for God’s mercy and restoration following a season of great devastation, which occurred because His people refused to repent and return to Him despite His continued warnings of imminent judgment (Nehemiah 1, 4, 6, 8, 10).
In each of those seasons, God’s people humbled themselves before Him and sought His face through believing prayer. Today, I believe God is giving His people a window of opportunity to seek and find Him through revival and spiritual awakening. Will we recognize His timing and seek Him while He may be found? Only time will tell.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Join with North Carolina Baptists as we pray for 30 days toward spiritual awakening during the month of October. Free daily prayer texts are available by texting the phrase “Pray30Days” to 313131. Visit prayfor30days.org or praync.org to download the “God’s Great Hope” devotional prayer guide and sign up for daily devotionals by email.