A few months ago, the Lord brought my attention to a verse in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
A little background; this is God speaking to Solomon after the awesome experience of the dedication of the magnificent temple, when the Israelites had seen God's glory and been in His presence. After a time like that, you would think that no one would ever waver in their faith and turn away from God, right? However, God knew that the Israelites would do exactly that. They would turn away from God and serve other gods, specifically, the gods of the people who surrounded them, the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Edomites, etc.
This verse seems to be saying that when difficulties come to a nation (or nations), God is not blindsided by them or sitting by helplessly watching as the forces of evil run amuck. No, He is actually allowing those things to happen, in hopes that His people will have the appropriate response to the events that will lead them back to Himself, and keep them from further judgment.
I read the passage above over and over for some time, and in response, the Lord impressed on me several things that He was asking me to do.
My hope is that we will not waste this opportunity, and that like Esther, we would be agents of that deliverance for the people around us. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:13, the people of the world don't have the same hope we have, which should make those of us who believe fear less in the face of disaster and possible death. No, we will one day be with Him and all this uncertainty and sorrow will be like last night's bad dream. Instead of responding with the same fear and anxiety the world is demonstrating right now, we can be fasting, praying, seeking the Lord and identifying and grieving over our sin, both individually and corporately. I believe the Lord is calling us to this. The question is, will we listen and obey?
If we do, the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14b will be fulfilled. God will hear from heaven and will forgive our sins and heal our land. I believe we will also see Isaiah 58 fulfilled. I encourage you to read the entire chapter, but to quote verse 8: "….your healing will quickly appear, and your light will break forth like the dawn... "
Amen! May all the Lord's people hear His word at this critical time.