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FAITH AWAKENING IN A TIME SUCH AS THIS
By Rebekah Siah A/P Angappan
2020 is a year that will most probably be marked in history. It is a season of uneasiness, anxiety, trepidation and ‘panic’, due to the sudden eruption of Covid-19 that triggers various reactions from people across the world. Who would have thought that a tiny microorganism could shake the world of over 7 billion population in such a quick manner? As children of God, how are we responding to such pandemic especially when we are surrounded by unpleasant news every day? Seeing the condition of the world in this season, perhaps this is a time of awakening and restoration for the people of God as in the days of Jonah.
With the implementation of the Restricted Movement Order (RMO) to build resilience, most netizens are required to stay at home. There are no celebrations, no mass gatherings, no entertainments, and even the economy is affected. There are road blockages everywhere and a shortage of Covid-19 test kits and protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizers, while a price
increment in daily goods such as vegetables etc. The situation indeed creates an obnoxious occurrence where most people are plunged uncontrollably into panic buying, job insecurity, and financial instability; for some, there is struggle of handling loneliness; for the front-liners, the overwhelming battle that induces mental, physical and emotional exhaustion; and for individuals tested positive with Covid-19, they most likely face the greatest fear. For such a time as this, we may ask “God, did You allow this to happen? Where are You?”.
No bad things ever come from God. Likewise, pain and sufferings are never the plan of God in the first place. When God created human beings in the beginning, it was a relationship that He yearned and planned for, an intimate and divine relationship. Hence, in His own image, He designed mankind (Gen 1:26). On the grounds of such desire, God trusted man so much that He did not only give man the authority to have dominion over the works of His hands (Ps 8:6), but He also gave man a freewill to choose between good and evil (Gal 5:13).
The plans that God laid down for human beings was good and has always been good, but when man chose to contravene against God’s supreme command, the act of aligning with temptations eventually led to disobedience that opened ways for sin to disrupt and pollute the perfect plan of God, which give birth to death (James 1:14,15). Thus, we see calamity befall humans today due to our actions. But the question remains, “did God allow it?”
Dr. Ravi Zacharias gave a good footnote on this issue in the 100Huntley Street interview, “If I would to take a life, something tragic has happened, because I cannot restore that life. But if God allows that to happened, He can still restore that life and the component of eternity does spell the possibility of an explanation. Without eternity, the problem of evil remains totally unsolved… So God is able to restore life, eternity is able to bring ultimate justice, and we leave those two components in His hands”.
Living in a momentary exposure to the world, we are given the authority to choose and act on our own discretion that flows from our hearts; either we reside in the nature of God or otherwise. As children of God, we are chosen and called to be holy and righteous as He is holy (Deu 7:6). And since we have God-given authority as children of God, we are to stand in the gap between the dead and the living as royal priests to seek God’s divine intervention (1 Pet 2:9). More so, in a time such as this. This, I believe, is a wake-up call for the people of God.
(11) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
(12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
(13) Let us walk properly, as in the day, Not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
(14) But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts.
Romans 13: 11-14 (NKJV)
Spiritual Awakening starts within us, a personal awakening that begins with a deep stirring in our hearts to respond to God. Awakening is not only usually defined as waking up from slumber but is accompanied with a sudden consciousness to take action on something. Spiritual Awakening acts both ways in our spirit beings. To see this world transform, we first have to undergo transformation.
On 9th April 2020, my cousin who had just accepted Jesus into her life one month ago had a dream. Note that she is a new-born believer in Christ, and she has yet to know more about this living God. In her dream, she heard the sound of trumpets in the sky that woke her up. When she went back to bed, she dreamt again but this time, with tons of glorious light like shooting stars dashed from the earth to the sky. She described it as glorious, majestic, and magnificent that it was too bright to gaze at. God gracefully gave a sign of rapture and this sign, serves as an awakening not only to my cousin, but to people all over the world who respond, wake up from slumber and begin acting on it. And as we are given the free will to choose, I believe our responses should begin from ourselves.
The Secret Place
During this period of RMO, we are given a golden opportunity to rest, pause, and be still. It is a time to rebuild our personal altars in our secret place with God. The power of abiding in the secret place brings delight to the heart of God. In the book of Psalms, we see the reality of the ‘secret place’ was revealed to David, whom God called ‘a man after My own heart’ (Acts 13:22). The secret place is a place where us, His children, are being real with Him with no masks on, and no pretence. In the midst of being real, we too, experience God in a genuine and heartfelt manner.
It is a place of solitary and intimacy with the One who yearns fervently to be a part of our lives whom we call ‘Abba’, a place where deep calls unto deep that creates an interlinkage of our hearts with the heart of God. With our spirits united with the Spirit of God, we do not only begin to see things the way God sees things, but we also begin to feel the way God feels that enables us to cry “break our hearts for what breaks Yours”.
“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.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
The alignment of our hearts with the heart of God yields a personal transformation that fosters humility, repentance, purification, and sanctification (James 4:8,10). Knowing that wickedness, injustice, and sin break the heart of God, it should likewise break our hearts. In every situation, it starts with us and in us to respond to God and set things right with Him in order to make a difference in a larger dimension.
As Smith Wigglesworth put it, “as you are faithful in the humblest role, God can fill you with His Spirit, make you a chosen vessel for Himself, and promote you to a place of mighty ministry in the salvation of souls and in the healing of the sick” and perhaps, the humblest role before every other roles is to humble ourselves before the Lord. When we grasp His heart, we are moved to a place of compassion for others because as one with our Father, we feel what He feels for His creation and with a divine faith, we cry out to God by praying through heavens as we trust God to move in our family, community, nation and the world.
The battle belongs to God. But as children of the Most High God, like the viruses, instead of proliferating with deadly causes, let us do our part in being contagious in spreading the goodness of God beyond ourselves by first bringing the fragrance of Heaven in our secret place and witness it spread from there. Our God is a loving, faithful, and wonder-working Father, and nothing is ever impossible for our Almighty God.