Saul, however, was ravaging the church. He would enter house after house drag off men and women, and put them in prison. So those who scattered went on their way preaching the Word.
It was a very bleak season for the Church. Saul of Tarsus was terrorizing the Body. Even being “underground” in house groups did not stop the harassment and arrests. (Thankfully, Saul was radically converted not long after this!)
The Church is not being harassed in the same way today as it was then. While a growing number of people want to blame Christians and take away First Amendment freedoms from us, they are not in the driver’s seat…yet. The Government, with good will and right motives, is trying to stop a viral epidemic, as you know. We can and should support our Governor, President, and other leaders as they make extraordinarily difficult decisions.
Yet, there are some real similarities we should not miss. Congregations and individual believers are being pressed in this like never before. Many are waking up to the fact that they are mortal and will one day die.
Many congregations are desperately trying to find ways to fellowship beyond the Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening model (a model not found in Scripture). The gift God has given us—to not be yoked to expensive (and currently empty) buildings and to have positioned us to meet house-to-house is extraordinary. In fact, it should confirm all the words we have heard over the years concerning our place in the coming revival…
The coming revival is coming soon!! This plague has brought people to their knees in repentance and to prayer and worship and reading the Word and to a place of hunger for fellowship that 9/11 never did. Public worship services by their very nature are more shallow than small group gatherings and allow folks to make public displays that may or may not actually display the conditions of their hearts.
I recall well the prayer meetings and church services surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Well meaning but patriotically motivated prayers and actions undercut the revival the Lord was wanting to bring the nation. Politicians crying out that we would rebuild and conquer and destroy the enemy stirred our hearts, but not our deeper spiritual needs…
But this is different. The enemy is at our doorstep. Political and patriotic displays are not front and center—a holy desperation is. Prayer and worship with tears is definitely more common. A revival is coming. A great Awakening is about to start. Will it begin the day the virus starts pulling back? I doubt it. In fact, there might be a rush to get back to our consumeristic, fleshly “normal.” But prayer does not fade away. Heart transformation cannot be satisfied by endless rows of rolls of toilet paper.
Something is breaking, something is birthing, and something is about to be born. Keep praying in desperation—with a few others as possible—and realize something big is going to happen soon. Even some of the “Saul’s” in this world will be converted and transformed…!