In October of 2017, the President stated, “This may be the calm before the storm.” His words sent media scurrying to decipher the meaning, but the message may have been more prophecy than mystery.
Presently, we are engaged in a storm of supernatural proportions.
Several years ago, the Lord spoke to me in an unusual way. I shared the word with our prayer leader and two days later, we marveled at the extraordinary confirmation God provided.
Recently, He brought this word back to my mind and as I read through it, I realized it contained wisdom for the storm we face, today.
It began on a Wednesday evening during prayer meeting. Austin Texas was in the middle of a drought, the second in the less than four years since we had moved here. We had seen brief periods of relief, only to be thrust back into the heat and oppression of diminishing lakes and parched earth. Fire risk was high, water was polluted with bacteria, and danger levels were severe.
I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray for “Showers of Blessing,” but my plea soon turned to, “Lord, I repent for choosing mercy drops over the showers of blessing we need.” Each time I prayed, the intercession grew stronger, “No more mercy drops, Father. Send us the showers we need.” In my spirit, I saw the many times He had answered our prayer, only to watch us return to the complacency and deficiency of abundance.
His weariness was palpable. Attempts to seek Him only because of our discomfort were coming to an end. The prayer He longed to answer was for the downpour of His Spirit in our hearts.
Thursday dawned heavy with clouds and hope though temperatures reached some of the highest levels we had experienced to date. Occasionally, the sun would break through. It was windy, but no precipitation fell, and forecasts reported the probability of rainfall was slim. Though scattered storms appeared further north, they were not expected to reach us.
Later, while driving home, I noted the clouds were beginning to dissipate as the sun became more prominent in the breaks. My hopes fell, and I prayed, “Please Lord, no more clouds without water. Please send the rain.”
Immediately, I heard, “What you see is My church. Clouds without water. False advertisement. False hope. Facades that lead the hungry to come in expecting and leave discouraged. Frustrated by a form of godliness without power, thirsty souls seek other fountains to drink from.”
I was stumped, confused, and unsure of how to pray. Both in the spiritual and natural realms the need was great. Suddenly, whether it came from despair or faith, I can’t say, but I cried out…
“Lord, send us rain, even if it has to come through the storm!”
No sooner had the words left my mouth than my spirit was quickened. I realized this was one of those “God prayers,” the ones He initiates just so He can answer. He responded, “Watch!”
I had no idea what was about to unfold, only an anticipation that I was going to witness something extraordinary.
The skies were blue and cloudless when I arrived home. The sun had begun its late afternoon descent and the sunset promised to be stunning. I turned on the television and a notice of severe storm warnings flashed across the screen. Simultaneously, the light on our answering machine was blinking, so I checked the message. Immediately, an unidentified man’s voice said, in the kind of dramatic tone one might use in a theatrical rendition of a horror play…
“A storm’s approaching.”
That was all. Just those three words. My youngest daughter, Charity, thought the voice sounded like our youth pastor except that he had never called the house phone before. Still, it added to the mystery of the moment. We later discovered her intuition was correct, though he had been speaking to his wife and did not realize he was being recorded.
We joined our neighbors gathering outside and followed their gaze to see a huge line of dark, ominous clouds rolling toward us from the north.
In awe, I considered the approaching storm, the voice on the recorder, and the moment in the car when I had cried out to the Lord.
Whatever was coming must hold a message I would not easily forget.
Ironically, this was one of the most beautiful atmospheres I’ve ever beheld. There was a striking contrast between the peaceful sunset and the broiling darkness. One side was filled with imminent danger and alarming uncertainties while not a wisp floated in the other. The clouds I had seen earlier had either assimilated into the storm or dissipated in advance of it.
My mind rushed to my middle daughter who had gathered with other singles for a weekly service of prayer and Bible study on Mt. Bonnell, the highest point in our city, near the downtown area.
The storm was headed toward Austin’s center and was predicted to hit that area within the hour. Forecasters warned of high winds, tornadoes, hail, and lightning. The streets were thick with citizens returning home from work as news anchors pleaded with travelers to seek shelter.
At this point, singles who lived north of the meeting would have no choice but to drive through the storm to reach home.
We sent texts and calls to Caren, leaving frantic voice mails with no response. Finally, we received a text stating that the leaders had told them to turn their phones off. They were aware of the storm and would warn the singles if there was anything to be concerned about.
Except, critical alerts were being announced and no warning had been given.
Four years earlier, just 2 ½ months after moving to Austin, we lost Caren’s dad and my husband of 31-years. One of his rules was the importance of remaining connected to each other at all times. Consequently, she disobeyed the unreasonable orders by turning her sound down while leaving her phone on and our warning reached her.
She promised that as soon as she found a way, she would head home, but worried about becoming a target to be scolded, humiliated, or worse because she had not followed instructions.
Charity and I prayed until she walked in the door. Her drive was directly in the path of a tornado and heavy hail. It was a hazardous trek, but she arrived just as the force of the storm hit our subdivision.
She was safe and we were together.
Throughout the night, we were glued to local networks. One weatherman reported that because we were in a D-4 Drought the severe dryness of the area and extreme heat in the atmosphere were causing sudden, dangerous storms called “Super Cell Thunderstorms.” He said the rain would bring some relief but not enough. “Most of the rainfall is falling in areas where the drought has already officially ended, but at least all areas are getting some rain.” He joked, “This is a case of the rich getting richer…”
There were numerous reports of: “car accidents, fires sparked by the exceptional amount of lightning strikes, downed power lines, broken windows, rain inside homes, hail damage, tornadoes, planes flipped over at municipal airports… etc.” One reporter commented, “The dark clouds eclipsed the setting sun and brought darkness early.” Another newscaster, reporting from the baseball game at U.T. said, “Who thought when they came to the park, they’d need an ark?”
The next morning, the Holy Spirit revealed the message in the storm.
Sometimes, especially in seasons of severe drought, rain can only reach us through the storm.
Drought is caused by High Pressure systems that can lead to excessive heat waves, hazardous fog, and dangerous tropical cyclones. 2 Corinthians 10:4&5, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…”
Satan desires to eclipse the sun, and bring an early darkness to our nation, but God’s Ark will always be our refuge.
Mt. Bonnell represented the state and condition of the Church.
“Let us think for you.”
Strongholds of control and appeasement have created drought by cutting believers off from the knowledge of God. Therefore, a storm is required to break this principality of wickedness that sits in high places. Rainless clouds fill our pulpits, teaching podiums, and worship thrones, but they will either assimilate or dissipate because God is coming in the storm!
The Church was never meant to become religious because religion uses arrogance, oppression, control, and manipulation to keep the business running smoothly. We are not authoritarians, the privileged few who neither wash the feet of the broken nor serve the widows, the fatherless, and the strangers.
Caren was both fatherless and a stranger, desperately seeking God. Instead, she encountered hypercritical, hypocritical novices posing as leaders and using gossip, slander, and dishonor as tactics of intimidation to control their “students” and create the “appearance” of godliness.
The age gap between student and teacher averaged less than 5 years. Apprentices who clung to misplaced authority, blind obedience, and rules without love.
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch,” Matthew 15:14.
Jezebel operates through intimidation, domination, and manipulation, which are the three prongs of witchcraft. Attempting to control the life of another is sorcery. Jezebel uses potential leaders, gifted, but without wisdom, to twist and pervert their promise because...
“Pride goes before destruction,” Proverbs 16:18.
Grace is only available to the humble, James 4:6, and premature exaltation leads to humiliation.
In their defense, they were only practicing what they had been taught. Blind obedience to religious masters was their ladder to promotion. Seminary’s, Bible Colleges, student programs, and church leaders thought for them, advancing titles of prominence rather than personal accountability, death to Self, and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Students always emulate their lords.
Once they are “over” others who are “under” them, those who don’t bow to their “authority” are punished. A novice knows no other way to lead.
How I wish this were an exaggeration, but it is a story repeated in churches all over the nation. The government of Jezebel leads to embezzlement, sexual immorality, exploitation, physical harm, and every manner of sin pride hides in the hearts of those who lord it over others.
Students who survive their time in youth and singles groups that operate by Jezebel’s authority, struggle with a lifetime of traumas such as a wounded spirit, hatred for God, disillusionment, cynicism, mistrust, addictions, acting out, and other deep seated grievances caused by being dominated, indoctrinated, and controlled.
Sometimes it takes a storm to bring us down from our lofty place…
The storm reveals things that have been hidden, especially what lies beneath the surface.
The storm crushes the haughty, but blessing awaits the humble.
The storm uncovers the plans of the enemy, exposing his strategies and schemes.
The storm unveils strongholds, compromises, and areas where the enemy has set up altars of influence, high places in our lives, our churches, and our nation.
The storm dislodges principalities, principles of thought and ungodly agreements that defy the Word of God. Power lines are downed.
The storm breaks and uproots unrighteous soul ties, ungodly systems, and evil networks.
We are presently experiencing both a geopolitical and biological tempest that reminds me of that night. Darkness has exploded in one crisis after another. The nation is captive to fear even while political leaders watch it burn. Businesses are looted and homes are destroyed. Churches have been closed. People have died, while others are scarred for life.
The storm has exposed the drought created by the arrogance of our high places and God is calling us to return to our First Love.
As the Holy Spirit spoke to me, I wrote, “Don’t mourn the loss of the old trees, systems, old ways of doing things. I am making way for a new work, the planting of the Lord.”
Two days after I delivered this word, the long, magnificent branch of an impressive 200-year-old tree towering over the parking lot of the church, came crashing down on the cars beneath. It was a deceptively sunny day, but wind speeds were high.
The storm had softened the earth and after 200 years of weathering tempests, an unseen blast of wind brought this extraordinary Oak down. Ironically, the youngest trees survived while many of the oldest, the most majestic, were uprooted.
Immediately, efforts were initiated to save what remained of the tree, but it was soon discovered that though it looked healthy on the outside, it had long since been dead on the inside.
The storm uproots and exposes, but the Holy Spirit will remove our masks, tearing down our facades, and revealing the truth we’ve long denied.
We may look beautiful on the outside, but without Christ as the Head, we are clouds without water, seeker friendly congregations concealing our pretense behind lovely sanctuaries, celebrity singers, and pious veneers.
God’s storms are instruments of humiliation or humility and great beauty can be found in the aftermath.
When God comes in the storm, He awakens the slumbering and stirs a fresh hunger in weary hearts.
The canyons of Central Texas were greener.
The sky was bluer.
The wind was cooler.
The air was cleaner.
There was far less damage than originally assumed.
Every area of drought received much-needed rain.
It was as close to a picture-perfect day as I’ve ever witnessed.
Like that remarkable night, God is speaking through the storm that is raging in our nation, but only those who have ears, will hear what He is saying.
The damage we see is only the precision of much needed surgery. God is awakening, revealing, uncovering, exposing, dislodging, breaking, and uprooting our idols. He is tearing down old systems and making way for Trees of Wisdom, Oaks of righteousness, Isaiah 61:3.
Everyone will be touched, no one left unchanged by the storm. Those who heed God’s voice will be strengthened. Established. Families will run to the Ark, coming together in Christ.
Those who don’t will be removed.
Sometimes, a storm is the only way to end a drought.
May God bless our nation with the rain of revival even if it must come through the storm.