"If My People" Not "If the People"


I keep prayer journals and random notes on my phone all the time about important things—the kind of things I don’t want to forget.

Something today made me think about a vision God gave me back in August of 2015. I scrolled through the notes on my iPhone earlier, and there it was:

“God gave me a vision today and said NYC will surely go up in flames unless my people share the Gospel.”

We were in NYC and I had an uneasy feeling. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was as if I could feel the spiritual need in the city and the magnitude of the task at hand.

Five years later, and here we are. Have we failed, Christians?
Second Chronicles 7:13–15 (AMP) says, "If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place."

This is a verse many Christians know. But today, as I stood at my kitchen sink washing dishes, the Holy Spirit had me focus on the two-letter word, "My." 

The verse doesn't say, "The" people; it says, "My".

I'll let that sink in for a minute.

I don't know about you, but maybe we've been doing some things wrong. Maybe we've been intentional about praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, but completely missing the mark. Maybe in our hearts we've prayed that verse with an arrogant air and silently said, "The" when it is us—His people— who should be doing the repenting. Repenting for what you might ask?

Repenting for our comfort. Repenting for our lack of empathy for those who are separated from Christ. Repenting for our needs above the needs of others. Repenting for our fancy houses of worship. Repenting for our indifference. Repenting for our secret idols.

I know there are many of you who are really doing great things for the Kingdom. You are serving in mission fields. You are living without the frills. You are doing the hard things. Thank you for all you do.

But sadly, there are thousands, dare I say millions who aren't. Millions—maybe even more like a billion.
This time in history is critical.

Strong nations have been hit with this virus.

Celebrities have died.

Sports figures have also died.

Politicians have died.

Infants, healthy young adults, older adults, senior adults—healthy and unhealthy alike have died.

Hundreds of thousands are sick.

Our economy is failing.

For us in the U.S., our heart's center—New York City—has taken a crushing blow. As goes New York, so goes the world.

We won't recover in our own strength. We carry the weight of this tidal wave and the only way to release this burden is for us—the Church—to repent.

God told Solomon that if He did some things to His people, the proper response was humility, repentance, an all-out seeking of the face of God, and to stop sinning.

If the people didn't respond appropriately, God promised it wouldn't go well. He said He would uproot His people and make them the laughing stock among all peoples. And even worse, the people would know it was because God's people had forsaken Him, embraced other gods and served those gods instead (2 Chronicles 7:19–22).

I know the world is heavy right now, but I believe without a doubt this virus isn't God's judgment upon a wicked world (we already saw His judgment on the Cross). It's a call—a God-sized opportunity—for His Church to return to Him with humble, repentant hearts. He wants His people to return to their first love (and for many to even figure out who their first love really is and should be). He is giving us a chance. It may not feel like grace right now, but believe me, it is.

Back in late January of this year, I was on the phone with my spiritual mentor, Albie. Those calls take hours, but I love every minute of it. As I sat listening to him speak and take notes (yes, what he has to say is that important), I began to doodle the words, "Humble Strength" next to the word, "Sandalfeet."

It is our humility and His strength—in that order—that will get us through.

I also wrote next to the words, "Humble Strength" this sentence, "We are His sandals." We are His messengers. "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who share the Good News" (Isaiah 52:7).

If we've failed—if I've failed—repentance is the place to start.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and grace. Forgive me for taking lightly the things you have asked of me. Search my heart and help me to see that which is not of you. Give me a greater burden to care for those who are in great spiritual need, not for the sake of numbers or notoriety, but because you love them. Lord, fill me to overflowing with your Holy Spirit because it is only in your strength may I do the hard things. Lord, may this crisis draw your people back to you. May we seek you and find you, and when we find you, may we never return to our sinful ways again. Lord, may our choices be a blessing to this generation and generations to come not a burden for them to carry. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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