During the past few years, it has often felt as if a type of winter has held our nation in its grip. News headlines have proclaimed that things are rapidly getting worse, in an era where first COVID restrictions, and now war and the potential fall in the value of the dollar are being discussed.
There is an answer for our times. Throughout the Bible, there are examples of how God has turned what looked like a bleak, dark winter into spring, and filled hopeless hearts with joy. It was when it appeared that satan had won, and God’s people had completely “lost” that God in His goodness intervened time and again, in examples that can be applied so appropriately to today.
- After being imprisoned due to a false accusation, and then being forgotten by an individual in a place to help get him out of prison, Joseph could have felt that his personal dark winter had come to stay, and given in to hopelessness. Instead, God was on the verge of transforming this bleak situation into an opportunity for Joseph to rise to the second highest position in the land, and save many others. Winter was over when God acted to place Joseph into a position of authority, and Joseph refused to become bitter but instead trusted in God’s goodness.
- King Hezekiah was under siege, his capitol city surrounded by tens of thousands of seasoned warriors from a nation that had conquered every other land they had entered. Assyria was known for its cruelty to those who opposed it. Hezekiah may have felt that his personal winter would never end, as the military leader Rabshakeh proclaimed taunting messages to the citizens under siege, telling them to abandon the city and king, and not to put faith in God’s protection, and to come over to where they would be “safe”. On his face before God, Hezekiah had no idea how things would turn out, until God sent a prophet with a promise to let Him know that God was about to act – and show the nations His response to the prayer of faith. The next day, the troops were called home, as spiritual winter ended and God was glorified. Then, when the threat of Assyria returned, God gave a promise that He would defend Jerusalem through the prophet Isaiah. The next morning, God’s angel came and delivered Israel through a plague and the Assyrians departed. You can read this account of incredible deliverance in 2 Kings 18:17-19:37).
- The apostle Peter was in prison for a serious crime – proclaiming the good news that Yeshua was the messiah – and the believers locally may have felt that winter had come, and they had lost their beloved leader. But in response to their prayers, and because of His goodness, God sent an angel to deliver Peter and show that God is on the throne, regardless of the charges that an ungodly government had made against one of His followers (you can read this account in Acts 12:1-20).
- A woman weeping in a garden at dawn must have felt that her personal “winter” had come. The messiah she loved above all else lay in the ground after crucifixion, and it looked as if satan had won, after all. Heartbroken, she must have wondered why this was allowed to happen, and whether it was time to give up and give in. But at this moment, she heard a noise in the garden, turned around, and saw what at first glance appeared to be a garden, until in conversation He said her name, “Mary” and she knew that winter was over and a glorious spring had come. Her messiah was not dead, but alive! (This account is in John 20: 11-18).
I am sharing these examples because at times the outlook in our nation has seemed bleak according to the news media. It would be easy to develop a “siege mentality” and agree to believe that everything in the world is slowly just getting worse and worse, and to simply wait to be raptured to escape.
But God’s promises are just as true today as they were in the biblical record. His nature, and His ability to save, heal and deliver are not one bit less than during biblical times. While I have had numerous dreams of coming revival that will change the face of our nation – and of the nations of the world – that have encouraged me and provided hope, ultimately my true source of hope is in God’s word, His promises, and His faithfulness. His word proclaims that there is great reason for hope at this time.
God always answers prayers, and many are going up before His throne at this time. And He has promised that in these last days that His glory will be poured out upon the earth (Joel 2:28 -32). This is not just wishful thinking, it is a sure promise, which includes a special promise: “that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
God also shows what we can expect will happen in times to come in Joel Chapter 3, from the return of Israel to her land, to God’s judgment on the nations and where true hope comes from.
God has promised a great harvest of souls at the end of the age – multitudes coming to know Jesus as savior (Psalm 22:27; Isaiah 25:7, Isaiah 59: 19-60:3; Matt.28:19). God has promised that He is with us, and will never leave or forsake us and that He will be with us (Matt: 28:20). He has stated that He is love 1 John 4:8), and we know that He is merciful.
Yes, things can be difficult. But we can know that God is the one who is lifted up on His throne, and who determines the course of human history. And winter is over – and the spring of revival is starting to increase!