**This is a personal website and reflects my thoughts and convictions. It does not represent any official position held by Youth With A Mission.**
(I read this teaching message from Martha during my last Facebook live-stream and several people wanted the written version, so here it is!)
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What strange times we are living in. As the corona-virus crisis started, our YWAM community was confused on how to pray. The crisis brought up a lot of questions: Is this a judgment from God on the earth? Is this the devil’s schemes to destroy all of our “God Plans” this year? Do we repent for God’s wrath to be averted? Do we rebuke the Enemy and the virus in Jesus Name? More importantly, where is God in the midst of this, what is He doing and how do we respond?
As we prayed for clarity, we realized that this virus started as a result of man’s rebellion to authority and ultimately to God’s laws. It most likely started in what they call a “wet market” in the city of Wuhan where there was illegal buying and selling of live wild animals to be used in traditional Chinese medicine practices. There are two animals in particular who carry forms of this virus; the bat and the pangolin (an almost extinct reptile like animal) – both bought and sold for their supposed “healing powers”. There are strict laws against this behavior in China – but this market was operating illegally. Many of the pandemics that we have experienced over the last half of a century have come out of Asia and from these illegal practices.
As this virus has been unleashed on the earth – of course the Enemy is loving it! Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy and he is always attacking God’s agenda! But in the midst of this God is still on the throne! Psalm 93:3-4, “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted their voice; The floods have lifted up their pounding waves. More than the sounds of many waters, Than the mighty breakers of the sea, The Lord on high is mighty!” He is not caught unaware. He is EVER PRESENT and He is using this time for His purposes.
So, what is GOD doing? And what is our response? I believe there is not just ONE thing, I think there are multiple things He is doing. But, I wanted to submit to you FOUR THINGS that I believe He is doing and how we can respond in this time.
1. A CALL TO REPENTANCE. It’s a time to repent as a human race for ignoring the laws of God and bringing destruction upon ourselves. Yes, the virus, but also in other areas where our nations have strayed from God and His Law: In my own country, the USA, since abortion was legalized in 1973, we have killed over 60 million babies. Globally we have experienced the war against the sanctity of marriage. In the West particularly, the homosexual agenda has succeeded in legalizing same sex marriage and pushed for the acceptance of transgender rights and gender fluidity. We have globally walked away from God and his Truths. This time is a wake-up call! And what about our own lives? This is a time to ask God: what is it in my own life that you want to put your finger on in this time? Where are the areas where I have personally strayed from your ways? It’s a time of heart searching and examination. A time of evaluation and pruning. He is cutting away the old ways and the diseased areas of our lives that new growth can come.
As our YWAM Community began to take our position in repentance, the Lord used several Scriptures to guide us: Numbers 16:41-48 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
2. A CALL TO REST. A few years ago, I was reading in Matthew 24:38-39 where Jesus is teaching about the End Times and he says, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away.” As I read this, a huge banner appeared in my mind stretching over this verse that said: The Power of Distraction! They were so busy with eating, drinking, getting married – the things of this life, that they missed the Kairos Moment of God!
We get so busy, our lives are filled with meetings, schools, conferences, traveling… and even though we are doing all of these things for God, we can become so tired and lose the passion for which we started all those things. I think one thing God is doing in this time is saying, come away with me. Come to a time of rest. A time of quiet. A time of solitude.
Solitude is one of the Spiritual Disciplines. We have been reading the Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. In the chapter on solitude he says, “Don’t you feel a tug, a yearning to sink down into the silence and solitude of God? Don’t you long for something more? Doesn’t every breath crave a deeper, fuller exposure to his Presence? It is the discipline of solitude that will open the door.”
This time is an invitation to solitude, to rest, to re-calibrate of the rhythms of our lives.
3. A CALL TO RESTORATION. I’m sure you’ve all read the articles about how this time is giving the earth a chance to heal. I’ve seen pictures of the Himalayan Mountains on Facebook. Apparently, they haven’t been seen this clearly in over 50 years. The canals in Venice are clear. The quality of air over our cities has improved drastically – our environment is healing.
Restoration is happening in families. I read a testimony of a believing family in Wuhan. Their lives had become so busy, they hardly spent time together. The parents hardly knew their children. Then they were locked down for months together in the home and they got to know one another again. They had time to share deeply. They began to grow in love again – she said it was the best time their family had ever had.
We are re-connecting with loved ones. FaceTime calls and Zoom have helped us connect with parents, friends and relatives. Marriages are being worked on! Being in quarantine brings up a lot of our weaknesses and deficits. We are face to face with all of our “stuff”! It’s a time to take a raw look at our relationships and to reconcile, to heal. God is using this time to heal relationships all over the world.
4. A CALL TO READINESS. God spoke so many things over the year 2020 globally. It was to be a year of breakthrough, a year of acceleration for the Kingdom of God. And now, seemingly, this has come to a halt. I believe that God’s word is still true. This will be a year of Acceleration and a year of Breakthrough, but it looks different to what we thought… he is giving us time to get ready for a great harvest! In Darlene Cunningham’s message to us, she relayed the story of when they had to send all of the students home from the Kona Campus. She said as they sent the students home she was thinking, wait, this isn’t what’s supposed to happen, the waves are receding. But then she remembered that often as waves recede, they come back even stronger! A greater wave is coming after this!
The Scripture that God has given our YWAM community in this time is the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-10. The essence of the story is that the bridegroom WAS coming. It was a time of expectancy and waiting. It was a pause, a rest, an invitation to wait! Five did not bring enough oil, five did. Then the time of breakthrough happened, the bridegroom came! They got up to trim their lamps but five did not have enough oil – they weren’t ready. This time is an invitation to readiness. Trim your lamps, renew your resource of oil, tend to your inner life, let your roots go deeper, draw into the Lord, rid yourselves of all that keeps you away from Him. Call out those little foxes that are ruining the vineyard – get your lamps ready for the breakthrough that is coming.
There is an invitation from the Lord in this hour. An invitation to repentance, rest, restoration and readiness. Take time to embrace the invitations. Make room in your schedules to respond. Let’s not miss this moment.
Martha (working in the Middle East)