By Samuel Clough
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV)
My heart is trembling at the desperate need of preparation in this hour. While I am sure the Lord has His prophets hidden in caves, I am also convinced we are completely unprepared for what is coming. Not only are we not prepared, I feel it is going to come much faster than we think and be upon us in a moment. In fact, it is already upon us.
Just last week I sat in a briefing for a prayer meeting with an Egyptian believer. She spoke of how unprepared the church was in the moment of pressure and crisis. She said when the revolution started the force and the pressure on the church to speak on humanitarian issues rather than Jesus was so much stronger than they had ever expected. In her opinion, under the immense pressure, the church was closer to humanism than a bold, clear witness for Jesus. My entire being was shaken to hear this saint who was in Egypt during the entire crisis repeat over and over, “The church is preaching humanism; it’s all humanism; we must preach Jesus, He alone is justice.”
I am still reeling from her words. They hit me like a hammer from the Lord. If Egypt’s church, who is familiar with a measure of pressure, was pressured towards a humanistic gospel in the hour of crisis what does that foretell for us who know almost no suffering let alone persecution? We have not even been tested by small shakings. How will be endure these kinds of pressures? Is there any hope that our gospel will be pure and that we will give a witness to Jesus when there is a palatable, humanistic option available and rejecting that option to preach Jesus only risks our own lives?
We are not as strong as we think. Most of our strength is humanistic and self-centered and will crumble in the hour of crisis. We desperately need a strength that is found in weakness. We need the strength of the Holy Spirit only, not just a bit of the Holy Spirit added to our own self-confidence.
The wisdom of God is that the church will be purified and that the gospel will go to all nations amidst great pressures and shakings. I am trembling that, amidst all our rightful zeal to get the gospel to every people group, we have not read Matthew 24 in sequence. The gospel will go to every nation, but it is in the midst of birth pains and terrible shakings. These shakings will set the hope of the church fully on Jesus and open hearts to receive the gospel.
Saints, not one of us would lead the way Jesus does. We would choose much less traumatic means, but Jesus’ zeal for a people with whole hearted love is so intense that He will use pressure to form a glorious companion. The process will be difficult and one none of us would choose, but the result will be worth it.
Let me be very clear that I do not want to disparage the church in Egypt in any way. Believers there have stood firm as a minority amidst persecution for years. There is a vibrant prayer movement being born in Egypt and I hear that they estimate nearly 2 million conversions to Jesus over the last few years. No doubt that church in Egypt is dear to Jesus and will be a bright and shining light in years ahead.
That said, I believe the Lord wants us to learn from the shaking in Egypt that pressures that we cannot imagine will seize us in a moment. In many places, pressure will probably ebb and flow, but the game has changed this year. Pressure and shaking is upon us. There is no going back. Even now, as the news has turned to Japan, believers are under much more persecution and violence than before or during the revolution.
It is being revealed that what looked like demonstrations for human rights and freedom were actually an open door for an increase or evil. The demonstrations looked noble, but any “justice” movement that does not embrace Jesus as the primary issue of justice is humanism at best and will lead to an increase in wickedness. That is beginning to be seen in Egypt as the world barely notices the believers killed there in Garbage City just last week. The result of “humanitarian protests” last week was that women are without husbands, children are without fathers, and other believers lie in hospitals. The world has “moved on” but the evil of seeking justice without Jesus is being demonstrated clearly in Egypt for those who will look.
Let Egypt be a lesson to us and give us strength to stand up and raise an alarm when the voices of men look noble and just but are devoid of Jesus. It is the time for us to get oil for our lives. It is time for us to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we can be a faithful witness, a burning and shining light in the hour of testing.