If you are finally ready
By Mario Murillo
“I wish you would give us an answer for America.” I hear that a lot! Oh the answer is out there alright, but you have to be ready. Many believe that they are ready but they are not. The proof that most believers are not ready is the jaw-dropping non reaction to the legalization of gay marriage. This darkest day in American history– brought on by the most outrageous abuse of power ever by the Supreme Court—was met by tepid, scattered, and disjointed outrage.
To be ready means an unshakable passion for change. The sorcerer tried to buy from Peter the power to impart the Holy Spirit. Peter said, “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God” – Acts 8:21. The daily behavior of millions of Christians and pastors prove they are not ready.
If you are playing games you are not ready. Seeker churches are playing a marketing game. They will never be a force for change in our culture; unless of course, someone invents a way to have moral awakening without repentance.
The hyper-emotional churches are not ready either. They are also playing games. Fire tunnels and prophetic conferences can easily degenerate a version of Dungeons and Dragons. Those who chase blessings and “words” are worse than unready, they are immobilized. They are play-acting at revival.
Do lost souls, national sin, and the loss of our constitution deeply matter to you? If they do not, God will not enroll you to save America. How could He? If you shy away from reality and say silly things like, “I don’t want to know what is going on, it is too depressing,” then you have no part in the solution.
Here are the people who are ready: Pastors who want to influence the culture more than they want a big church are ready. Pastors who are passionate for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and cannot live without winning the lost, are ready. Christians, who are clear that America will soon die without revival, are ready. What is the most urgent sign that you are ready? The answer is an unambiguous conviction to pursue revival even if no one else joins you. God is not waiting for the church. He will start without them. All He needs is one willing vessel. The one willing vessel will unlock awesome power by confessing, “I will do whatever it takes for however long it takes.” What makes this idea come alive is something called the Stockdale Paradox. Here is an excerpt from Good to Great written by Jim Collins: The name refers to Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the height of the Vietnam War. Tortured over 20 times during his eight-year imprisonment from 1965 to 1973,
Stockdale lived out the war without any prisoner’s rights, no set release date, and no certainty as to whether he would even survive to see his family again. “Here I am sitting in my warm and comfortable office, looking out over the beautiful Stanford campus on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I’m getting depressed reading this, and I know the end of the story! I know that he gets out, reunites with his family, becomes a national hero, and gets to spend the later years of his life studying philosophy on this same beautiful campus.
If it feels depressing for me, how on earth did he deal with it when he was actually there and did not know the end of the story?” “I never lost faith in the end of the story,” he said, when I asked him. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
I didn’t say anything for many minutes, and we continued the slow walk toward the faculty club, Stockdale limping and arc-swinging his stiff leg that had never fully recovered from repeated torture. Finally, after about a hundred meters of silence, I asked, “Who didn’t make it out?” “Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “The optimists.” “The optimists? I don’t understand,” I said, now completely confused, given what he’d said a hundred meters earlier. “The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”
Another long pause, and more walking. Then he turned to me and said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” Why is this Paradox so important to the American church right now? The answer is the last 7 years. These are years that shattered Pollyanna doctrines and fluff faith. We never dreamed it could get this bad this fast. Our version of optimists has left the church. They have fallen away because of persecution.
The remnant is ready for untold power if it heeds this lesson: Things are bad, really bad; deal with it. But never, ever lose faith in the arrival of revival. Embrace the facts no matter how brutal they seem and at the same time believe with all of your might that everything you are doing to see the power of God released on America will be rewarded. When you pray, God will hear. When you speak out people will listen. No matter how unpromising your action feels now, keep going because “there is no restraint with God to save by few or to save by many!” Hallelujah!