This past week has been for me, quite literally, HELL week. For some time now I have been praying for a situation here and just recently, finally, began to see some fruit and signs that God’s light was breaking through. It was an exhilarating time – but then suddenly, without warning, there was a drastic change. Within a week’s time the “clouds rolled in,” the light was obliterated and I literally saw the hounds of hell unleash their counter attack in full force. The situation digressed to a state of what now appears to be hopeless.
Through this battle, I have been doing a lot of reflecting and the Lord has been showing me several things. First of all, He reminded me of how quickly things turned from light to darkness in the week’s time between Jesus’ triumphal entry (where the people shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord”) and his trial before Pilate (where they shouted, “Crucify him!”) Jesus even described the time forward from when He was arrested as the “hour when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:53) God has shown me that I have entered that time the disciples were in between His death and resurrection and He is asking me, “Do you still believe what I have told you and that all things are possible, even in this time of darkness and death?”
I believe what I have been experiencing and battling this last week mirrors what is being unleashed on our world at this very hour – an hour when “darkness reigns.” Things are escalating rapidly. Revelation 12 tells us of a time when Satan and all his angels are hurled down to the earth and it says: “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Rev. 12:12) I believe the rapidly increasing natural and man-made calamities around the world are evidence of his wrath and destruction – John 10:10 tells us that he has come to “steal and kill and destroy” and that he “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:21 that during that time, “there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.” I know that many of my Christian brothers and sisters believe that they will be “raptured” and will miss this time of “tribulation,” but I believe the Bible clearly states we will not. There are many passages, including the fact that we are told several times in Revelation that it will require “patient endurance on the part of the saints” during this terrible time and that “he who stands firm and overcomes will be saved.” 1 Peter 4:17 states that “judgment begins with the family of God,” and I believe this time will be a cleansing, purifying and refining time for the bride and that, just as much of the church in the first century did, we will follow in our Lord’s footsteps, enduring suffering and sacrificing our lives, just as He did, for the “joy set before us.” (Heb. 12:2)
I believe we have already begun to enter the hour “when darkness reigns,” and it will appear, as it did to the disciples during the days Jesus was in the tomb, that we are abandoned and without hope. I believe the parable of the foolish and wise virgins in Matthew 25 illustrates the church – and that those who have not stored up enough “oil of faith” to last from the time they realize “the bridegroom is coming,” through the darkness of the night until he actually appears, is a foreshadowing of many in the church who have not prepared themselves for this time. Those who have the faith to stand firm and endure will have no way to impart it to those who don’t.
So the question becomes, will we really hold on to what we say we believe, even through the most horrendous time in history, when darkness and death is all that we see?
This morning I was praying on the beach and looking up at our seventh day of solid, socked in clouds and no sun (which has appeared to mirror in the natural what I have been experiencing in the spiritual this past week). From my perspective, it was as if the sun did not even exist any more – there was absolutely no trace of it. But the Lord reminded me of what I cannot see with my eyes – that up above those clouds the sun still shines with its same brilliance. I just have to believe and know that it is there, despite what I am seeing and experiencing now and know that some day – although I have no idea when – it will shine on me again.