Growing plants in Texas is quite hard. I’ve gone out many a morning to discover one of my plants devoured. In the middle of the night, some alien bug decided the green and prolific leaves would be a tasty midnight snack, leaving me with barren and desolate twigs. Needless to say, as I assess the damage done, frustration settles in! Thankfully most plants are resilient if you quickly respond by giving them proper care and nourishment (not to mention a spray or two of pesticide!).
There are many stories in the Bible which show us how to respond in despairing times, and Joel 2 is one passage that was recently brought to our attention.
“Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar. Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord! Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery. Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, ‘Has the God of Israel left them?’
Then the Lord will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land. The Lord will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations.” (Joel 2:15-19 NLT)
Yesterday during staff meeting, one of YWAM Tyler’s founders called us all to pray and fast between now and the election. We weren’t told what or how to fast; we were simply urged to seek the Lord and do as He leads, for we are in a desperate time for God to move in our land.
In Joel 2, a vivid picture of a desperate time is portrayed. Devastation is approaching ~ an awesome and terrible time as stated in verse 11, and what is the Lord’s instruction for all who believe in Him?
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.” (Joel 2:12-13 NLT)
As I reflected on these words early this morning, I felt a nudge to share them with our dear friends and family. I too believe the Lord is calling us to come to Him with fasting, weeping, and mourning in this time. He wants us to stand between the porch and altar praying, “Spare Your People, Lord!” We are in an unprecedented time in history in our land. We desperately need the Lord to move in our midst. For many years now, America has been blessed to be a blessing. We’ve sent countless of missionaries into the world to proclaim the goodness of our God. The Great Commission has not changed. There are more people who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. More divine blessings are needed throughout this land and beyond, and we are the ones God is raising up to be His conduit. Will we respond to God’s call to focused, heart-rending prayer?
“The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1)
Please God, don’t be so angry with your people! Don’t let the Egyptians jeer and say, “Their God rescued them just to destroy them.” Change your mind and remember your promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You promised you’d make their descendants as numerous as the stars and would give them land to own forever. Don’t break your promises, Lord! Amen.