ISIS Captures Another City; Protesters Call for End to Police Brutality; Racial Tension on the Rise; Christianity in the US Declining. We are bombarded with headlines that strike our hearts with the knowledge that our nation—and the entire world—is in dire straits. We long for restoration, but in the chaos, some fear that we are doomed. Several times a day, I either read or hear the words, “There is no hope.”
Nevertheless, hope arises within me as I see the true Bride of Christ—the Spirit-filled, Spirit-led Church—arising and stepping into the process that leads to restoration.
In scripture, we find many references to a refining process that results in restoration.
Scriptures such as Psalms 51 and Joel 2 clearly define that process: repentance, reconciliation and then, restoration.
When confronted by the prophet Nathan, David recognized his sin, repented, and reconciled himself to God with a broken and contrite heart, as seen in Psalm 51. God forgave David, restored fellowship with him, and established the king’s dynasty through Solomon.
At first, Joel 2 describes the coming judgment of God. Then the Spirit of God calls the people to repentance:
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar. Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord”...So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...(Joel 2:16-17, 25; NKJV)
The praying Church has been in repentance for the sins of the Church, our nation and the world for several years now—a movement ever increasing in momentum. Through those prayers of repentance, God is leading us into reconciliation with Him as we come into greater understanding of His character. We are learning that God is God and has thoughts for us that include a future and a hope. We are learning that God is positive rather than negative. His heart is for our peace and our joy; in fact, His joy is our strength (see Neh. 8:10).
As we come into alignment with God’s plans for us, with God’s desire to shower His blessings on us, we come into a desire for reconciliation with one another. Our desire for unity pleases the heart of Father God: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forevermore” (Psalm 133:1,3b; NKJV).
Ministries that cross denominational boundaries have grown phenomenally in recent years. We are choosing to stand on common ground, joining together because of the essentials of our faith. We can agree that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died to pay the wages for our sin, that He rose again, that He ascended, and that He will return. We can find enough areas where we agree to work together to reach the lost, the hurting and the needy in our world.
God is preparing the Body of Christ for restoration. God has declared that when His people come together in repentance and reconciliation with His word—when we seek relationship with Him—He will hear, forgive and restore.
At the dedication of the first temple in Jerusalem, God spoke to Solomon:
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. (2 Chronicles 7:13-15; NKJV)
The people of God lead the way to restoration. When the Church is moving in purity, honesty and love, the way is paved for restoration in our nation.
The Lord is saying to us that this is the time to stand in faith, not fear. This is the time to walk in holiness. This is the time to put on the whole armor of God, to do all that we can do, and then stand in the promise of God’s blessing and restoration.