“May you live in interesting times!”, is supposed to be an old Chinese curse. Well, I don’t think there is any doubt that we do live in interesting times, but we take heart that since Jesus became a curse for us, we are no longer under any curse (cf. Gal. 3:13). Our lives and our times are in the Lord’s hands and the Lord’s plan.
At the Women’s Day of Refreshment in June 2017, I felt the Lord speak a word to my heart with the theme, “for such a time as this.” It is as follows:
PROPHETIC WORD RECEIVED AT WOMEN’S DAY OF REFRESHMENT
For such a time as this, you have been called, as was Esther of old.
Be careful how you walk, for the days are evil, says the Lord.
You are the salt and light of your time, says the Lord, even as the saints of old were in their time.
For such a time as this were you born.
For such a time as this were you born anew and graced with the Holy Spirit.
For such a time as this were you called and sent forth, says the Lord.
Redeem the time, says the Lord.
Prophesy to your generation, even as John the Baptist did. Say to them, hear the word of the Lord and obey the word of the Lord.
For I tell you that this generation is stiff-necked and hard of heart, says the Lord, even as the generations before them.
But I have called you FROM this generation, says the Lord, and I have called you FOR this generation, says the Lord.
Say not, other times were better; would that we lived at a different time.
No, for I tell you, this is YOUR time and this is YOUR day, says the Lord.
For the times and the seasons are mine, says the Lord, and I have placed you here and now, says the Lord, for such a time as this.
As I have tried to pray and reflect on what the Lord would say to us in our situation today in the Church and in the world, I was led to about a dozen Scriptures. I would like to present some of them this month and continue with them next month.
- There is a lot of confusion today about what is true or false, right or wrong, good or evil. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who call darkness light and light darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Those who spread confusion in doctrinal and/or moral teaching would do well to take this warning seriously.
- St. Paul tells us that if the sound of the bugle or trumpet is uncertain, who will be prepared for battle (see 1 Cor. 14:8). This verse seems to describe where we are today. There are confusing, uncertain, ambiguous sounds coming forth. Uncertainty is a weakening force in spiritual warfare, not a strengthening one.
- What is needed, rather, is what is described in 2 Timothy 4:1-5: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and by his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season; convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when men will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from the truth and wander into myths (fables). As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” This is a good word for all of us, no matter what your ministry in the Church is.
- We need the clear word of truth found in the Holy Scriptures and the authentic teaching of the Church. Galatians 1:8: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
- Amos 8:11 talks about “days when there will be hunger not for food and thirst not for water but for hearing the word of the Lord.” I think those days are upon us. We are experiencing a famine and a drought of hearing the word of the Lord. There is a crisis of truth, a crisis of confidence in those who are supposed to be speaking the word of God to us.
- Galatians 6:7 reminds us: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” God is all-loving and all-merciful, but this is a healthy reminder that “God is not mocked.” Unfortunately, there are those around today who would make a mockery of God and God’s word.
As I mentioned, I find the above Scripture passages rather pointed and illuminating for our situation. I offer them for your prayerful reflection as well and hope you find them helpful. Next month, we will continue with Part Two of “What the Spirit is Saying Today.”