Prime ministers and presidents, news anchors and health officials— so many voices are speaking to us through this crisis. But whilst we need their wisdom and value their guidance, what is God saying? Some claim that Covid-19 is judgment from God, others that it is the devil’s work and still others that it is a consequence of humanity’s sin.
Personally, I believe there are four factors at work. Firstly, God is shaking things. Secondly, the devil is raging. Thirdly, human sin is consequential. And fourthly, the earth is groaning.1
During the last few weeks, most Christian leaders, including myself, have been speaking positive messages of hope and encouragement. This is right and good, and it is a part of what God is saying.
Our key points have been:
Have hope and do not fear
As followers of Christ, we should not cower in fear at this time but should rather be filled with supernatural hope.2 Do not fear; put your hope in God; He is faithful, unchanging and good.
Pray for protection and a turn of the battle
We pray for protection against loss of life. It is right to pray this way in Jesus’ name, and to contend for the battle against this pandemic to be turned3 – God does not take any pleasure in the loss of life and He desires that all may be saved. 4 So let us pray for our families, our loved ones and for the nation.
Shaking to Awaken
However, I believe that these are not the only things God is saying. Nor, I would suggest, are they even the most prominent message He wants to share. This unprecedented crisis that is shaking nations across the world is meant to wake up the Church. We have lots of activities, programmes and business in the Christian world, and many are self-confident, self-sufficient and self-absorbed.
To quote AW Tozer: ‘If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.’
Here are several statements I have been hearing from the Lord and which I believe are loaded with truth:
- Wake up and understand the times – we need to be caught up into the Father’s bigger storyline
- Wake up and fall in love with Jesus – we need to put God’s first commandment in first place
- Wake up and remove the idols – we need to restore the Lordship of Jesus
- Wake up and turn the battle at the gate – we need to contend in the place of prayer
- Wake up and be courageously creative – we need to form new structures and patterns, new wine skins for new wine
- Wake up and live in Holy Spirit power – we need to return to Christianity as we see it in the book of Acts
- Wake up and bring in the harvest – we need to focus on soul-winning and disciple-making
The Lord’s desired outcome in this time is an unprecedented move of His Spirit. Covid-19 is a shaking that will awaken us to be responsive to our Lord.
‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord Almighty. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the Lord Almighty. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the Lord Almighty.”
‘He who has ear let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.’ — Jesus
Much of what Steve has said in this blog was shared in a sermon he preached on 29th March 2020. Head over to hear the full service; the sermon can be found at 35 minutes onwards.
Steve Uppal has been the senior leader of All Nations Church, Woverhampton, since 2001. He is also the leader of the growing All Nations Movement which gathers churches and leaders together with the vision of turning nations back to God through prayer, church planting, repurposing existing churches and equipping leaders.
1 See Mike Bickle
2 Romans 15:13
3 Ezekiel 33:11
4 2 Peter 3:9