Gaze upward, not inward
Paul Johnson, Associate Pastor, Staples Alliance Church
May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. - Psalm 79:8
At the turn of the new millennium, Fiji was a nation in great need; people groups were in conflict with one another, water that had once been clean and healthy had become undrinkable, and sin had taken a deep hold on the island.
It has been said, “God uses desperation to bring people to the place where they cry out to Him”. The believers in Fiji were desperate, so they called a solemn assembly. Some 5,000 of them gathered to seek the Lord in repentance. Having been changed themselves, they then responded by extending the grace and mercy of God to their neighbors and God moved in wonderful ways. Revival spread, and the land of Fiji began to be healed.
Friends, our nation is in great need. How will we as believers respond?
Well we could get frustrated, and that is a very understandable response. But where will that frustration take us? Godly anger can bring about godly results, but let us be very careful with frustration, for it can easily lead us to gaze inward, not upward. It can (and often does) lead to ungodly and ungracious responses.
What if we keep that frustration inside? What then?
We could become resigned - throw in the towel and decide the needs are too great, our situation is too far gone. But this will bring with it a crusty cynicism completely antithetical to the gospel that we believe. The hope of the gospel will be replaced with hopelessness and despair. We will spend our time lamenting to those who will listen, complaining over our coffee, but going no further.
Or… we could become desperate.
But let me be very clear. I’m not speaking of a desperation that results in violent or harmful actions. The kind of desperation I’m speaking of is the kind the believers in Fiji experienced, the kind written about in Psalm 79:8. It feels the full weight of frustration and lifts it heavenward. This desperation has a firm grasp on hope - but not on any hope that lies within. This desperation understands that to look inward for an answer is to stare into a black hole. Like the believers in Fiji, a desperate person looks up, hopeful, realizing there’s one way out - only one - but it is there. It is a sure hope found only in repentance, turning back to God and His ways alone.
And here is the key: it begins with me. It begins when I ask God to first to do a work in me. The dear people of Fiji started there, and God began a healing work that is continuing to this day.
Believer, are you frustrated when you see the growing needs around us? I understand. Are you resigned? I hope not. Are you desperate? Good! “God uses desperation to bring people to a place where they cry out to Him.”
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)