Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-26
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The sky was a brilliant blue. Not a single cloud could be seen for miles as the sun sprayed the earth with warmth. A steady stream of cars poured into the church parking lot. Families emerged. Children danced over the asphalt while others enjoyed the warm air as they walked gingerly toward the entrance. God had painted a perfect day.
Inside the worship played modern anthems as well as age-old hymns. Sweet voices rose in unison. God’s throne room was bombarded by the voices of His children on that beautiful Sunday morning.
The pastor delivered a message on the many seasons of life. He reminisced about the joys and sorrows he and his family had endured. Because they had a close relationship with the Lord, God’s faithfulness carried them through all of the difficulties they faced.
Suddenly a loud shudder rumbled underground and the church shook. Everyone froze. Outside loud cracks of thunder could be heard. The noise was so great that many became fearful. People darted toward the doors. To their shock and horror dark ominous clouds eclipsed the beautiful sky that greeted them that morning. A ferocious wind coursed its way around the church pillaging everything in its path. Jagged bolts of lightening split the sky. Rain came in torrential downpours. And the people panicked.
Then the pastor spoke. “Everyone please give me your attention. Outside a storm is raging. Strong winds threaten our safety. I must advise you not to leave the building. We are safe within these walls. Come back into the sanctuary. This is no time to panic. This is a time for us to band together as one body. We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves. Our God will protect us from the storms of life if we will nestle under His protective wings. Please join me in the sanctuary. Let us worship God even while the storms rage outside.”
But many would not listen. They darted out the doors and ran straight into the angry storm. By the time they reached their cars they were drenched and weather-beaten. They sped out of the parking lot and headed for the safety of their homes.
The weather became more volatile. The earth shook. It felt as though the ground was in labor. The next wave of people streamed from the church doors and ran to their cars. As they drove away only one third of the cars were left in the once full parking lot. The pastor spoke again.
“As your pastor I am calling you to seek shelter under the shadow of the Almighty. Come into the sanctuary and worship our God with me. We will be safely protected within the flock.”
The remnant that was left came together. Some gathered around the altar. Some lay on the floor prostate before God. Some worshipped. Though the number of people was greatly reduced the voices that filled the air were pure. They honored the King even while the storm raged just outside their walls. They clung to their faith. They remained steadfast. And God kept them safely protected.
Meanwhile many who fled became more fearful. Their hearts were riddled with anxiety. They joined the ranks of the vast majority of the population and stopped seeking God as they tried to shelter themselves from the storm. Not only did they abandon the church but they abandoned God altogether. They couldn’t understand why God would allow the storm to invade their beautiful world. How could God disrupt their comfortable lives, interrupt their complacency?
Instead of diving into the Word of God they listened to the local authorities. They allowed the world’s narrative to become their truth instead of seeking the One who spun the world into existence. They locked themselves away for months and their seclusion became a poison they drank continually.
But the church began to change.
Though the world was thrown into chaos faithful believers were tucked inside a fortress safe under the watchful eye of God Almighty. Across the globe the remnant gathered in their cities and states. They were hungry for God in ways they had never experienced before. They were determined to keep God at the center of their lives. When they weren’t meeting corporately they opened their homes for intimate gatherings. A vibrant faith filled their hearts and minds. The church was empowered by a mysterious undercurrent, an undercurrent they could not explain. God’s children had encountered Jesus, and they would never be the same again.
And from on high God watched. The glow of the remnant shined forth through the darkness. Every city, every country was lit like candles on an altar before Him. The prayers of the saints rose to His hearing, and God listened. Their worship filled His holy tabernacle and He basked in the love of His children. And God was well pleased because His beloved children were learning to honor Him unconditionally.
Is this not the greatest achievement of the child of God?
My friends, obviously the storm I write about this month is an allegory. The storm represents the current circumstances we face in our world right now. I do not come to cast judgment. I am also not referring to people with compromised health that require seclusion to maintain their health. I am, however, addressing those who are hiding in fear who have stepped away from God and have embraced a worldly mindset. I will tell you this – apart from God you can do nothing. Apart from God there is no security.
The church has experienced a shaking. This shaking has created a fragmentation in the body. It saddens me to see so many walking away from their faith. We wstand at a precipice. God is about to do amazing things and many will miss it!
In these changing times a new door has been opened by heaven above. We have the most incredible opportunity to draw near to the Father and experience Him in new and exciting ways. God’s Spirit is on the move. He is scoping the globe for the faithful. Let us not bypass the open door that is before us. We the faithful are about to experience an outpouring of God’s Spirit in very tangible ways. It’s going to be remarkable! So please come back to the flock of God! Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together. As a body we are empowered corporately and God is glorified through His church.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. I Corinthians 12:27
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”