Monday, November 16, 2015

On Refugees and Revival

As a rule, I do not write about controversial things. I value my witness far more than I value my opinion and so I generally hold the latter so the former can be heard. But I’m having a hard time quieting my thoughts on this. And I think this is one of those situations where the two are too intertwined. I’m trying to pick them apart and I simply cannot, so here they are together: witness and opinion, whatever they are worth.

A few weeks ago, I spent hours of my day on Facebook. It’s something I hadn’t done in a while, a habit I have tried to break but I stumbled across Humans of New York and Brandon was doing a special, showcasing the Refugee Crisis. He was telling their stories. I couldn’t stop reading. Each story, I felt it, you know. I hurt over it. I prayed over them. I sat there at my computer with the din of my house resounding in my ears, breaking occasionally to fill sippy cups with chocolate milk, and I prayed for these strangers. I prayed they would find their loved ones, that they would find healing, safety, provision. And I prayed more than anything that they would find God. That someone would feed them and give to them and show them by their actions as well as their words the love of Jesus.

Then I went about my life. It’s a busy life with all these kids and this farm. Ministry to do, meetings to attend, plans to make. I thought of them occasionally, the refugees, but mostly I did not think of them. I thought of why my free-ranging chicken coop hasn’t been laying well and I reminded myself to breed the rabbits. I made a list for Thanksgiving shopping. We butchered turkeys and I wrote an article about fear.

Last Friday night, as I sat in a Pizza Hut in a small town in Louisiana, my kids complained because I made them order water to save money. We got a pizza with pineapple and it was average. And while my youngest son threw his pacifier on the floor over and over, I found myself scrolling Facebook again, refreshing as often as I picked up the paci, reading the coverage of the Paris attacks to my listening husband. And I prayed for them, the Parisians. For them to have comfort in the terror, for them to find surety and safety, for the attackers to be found and stopped, and most of all, that God would be known and shown faithful in the circumstances.

The next day, my feed was flooded with the hashtag “#PrayforParis” And as I expected, I read the Mister Rogers quote a handful of times. You know the one, it surfaces in every crisis, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

That quote struck me deep the first time I read it. I think it was during 9/11. I was a child then, just sixteen. But then I read it again during Katrina, then the Boston Marathon, then again when a tornado came tearing through our own lives, and then again on Friday. Sometimes the reverberation of things like that makes me feel numb. We are so Ill equipped to process the brokenness of this world with our own human understanding.

Saturday I went to a birthday party for a seventy-five year old man, who has surely seen more tragedy and pain than I can even comprehend at thirty. And Paris and those hurting there crossed my mind. But then I got to ride horses, and I laughed. I raced my son through a bouncy-house and let him win. It was a very good day.

I tell you all of this to get to my point, because I want you to know that I am probably very much like you. I am an American, a Christian, I am even a minister. I have set my heart on Revival and have made my life largely about my Father’s business.
However, in the last few weeks, even with knowledge of the state of mankind at my fingertips, my life has mostly been about me, and about the things in front of me demanding my attention and my focus. Oh, I’ve prayed, possibly even more than the average American Christian. I’ve even cried! But my heart has been largely untroubled.

Until today. Today my Facebook feed, that little window into the world past my bubble, is abuzz. Because now those refugees I prayed for need a place to go. But there’s this lurking shadow called ISIS, claiming the terror on those Parisians I prayed for, and who knows if they might piggy-back in on those refugees backs right on to American soil?

Last year, God called me out of my comfortable Christianity. He shook my life up in the most glorious way. I didn’t know which way was up and which was was down but I knew where Jesus was and that’s all that mattered. He lit a fire in my bones and taught me that a call to repentance is the most passionate of love songs. This afternoon found me on a stage, singing to God with a handful of others, asking Him to touch our Nation, capture our hearts and lead us into holiness. We have been praying for a harvest, a revival, a spirit of Glory to fall and send people by the thousands running to the Cross, the Son, the Savior.

I’m believing God that I might see a million souls come to know Him in my walk.

I told you I live in a bubble.

Outside the bubble this evening, Governors are being applauded for denying refugees and then others are name-calling those that applaud them. I’ve seen all kinds of words this evening. Impeachment, Idiotic, Repugnant, Foolish, Hateful, Stupid, Sitting Duck, Killer, Murderer, Trash, Muslim. There’s been political jargon far over my education and Christians calling other Christians judgmental names. I’ve seen no less than five times, “Say _____ now so I can unfriend you.” And I keep seeing Jesus name tied to these strong personal biases.

And since I warned you from the start, and since you now know 1041 words of my own heart, here is my witness and opinion, which I realize are rarely advisable to marry.

If we are praying for a harvest of souls, and the American church has made a multi-million dollar business out of Sunday church “for the sake of saving lost souls”, why would we not rejoice at boat loads of unbelievers being delivered to our doors?

Because the threat?

Here’s the importance of The Word. Here’s the problem with the Lukewarm church, going and sitting in a pew on Sunday and then fixing our hearts on worldly things the rest of the week: we are weak in power. We have forsaken the authority that Jesus gave us when He sent His Holy Spirit. We were never meant to be afraid of our enemy. We were never meant to fear anything but God, and in this is not a fear that disables us but a reverence that emboldens us.

Oh, that this could be an ignition! If only I could impart this fire into you and you receive it! I pray that God would move on your heart right now as you read this and that you would apprehend this boldness.

It hit me tonight, at the end of the dinner table. We made biscuits and gravy for dinner because the milk was about to turn and we had to use it up. And I sat in my yellow chair and poured over scripture and after weeks of caring enough to pray some, after worship and crying out and life as usual, God just hit me then and there. And just like that, I became vexed.
Not for the Syrians. Not for the Persians. But for the Americans, the Christians.

I became vexed because we are a church that has forfeited her power for comfort and her demonstration for doctrine. We worship a God that has promised to confirm our message with accompanying signs. If He is God and man is made my God, why are we not proclaiming Him with all sureness? Are not the refugees AND the terrorist made by Him? Are they not hardwired to know Him? Is He the truth and if we believe that, what are we hiding from?

We serve a God that has given us all authority of His son’s name, to which every knee shall bow. We serve a God that has promised us the ability to heal the sick and cast out demons and raise the dead. You can argue it, but it’s in the Word. He said it, not me. This part isn’t even my opinion.

We are a people that have not been given a spirit of fear but of love and power and a sound mind. We are a people that are to love our lives not unto death. We are Esthers, given a place of privilege in a crucial hour in history, for such a time as this. We are Nehemiahs, called to rebuild the broken wall of God’s people, to stand in the gap. We are Joshuas, called to face the Giants in the land and believe that God is mightier by far. We are Davids, facing Goliath with a stone and a sling and worship in our heart. We are Jeremiahs and Joels, calling out for those blind to the times to turn and repent.

We are the church. The bride of Christ.

What in the world are we doing, casting off the harvest for fear of our lives? Can our almighty God not protect us? Hasn’t He promised just that? Does He not command His angels concerning us? And has He not offered us eternity because of his wild and reckless love for us?

What are we doing, calling names instead of speaking identity? What are we doing fighting the fearful with hate? Do we fight against flesh and blood? Strike down fear by speaking life!

And repent!
Yes, repent.
I repent. I repent of my fear and my indifference and my self-centered understanding. And I pray for you, American. I pray that as you read this Holy Spirit strikes your heart with the fire of revival. I impart it to you, and if you will grab hold of it and be ruined to everything else, YOU WILL SEE MIRACULOUS THINGS.

I speak this life into you. That you would rejoice for refugees and that you would not fear ISIS. They want you to fear them. They want you to fear them and love yourself more than you love Jesus and those He died for.

Prove them wrong.
That’s my opinion.
We should prove them wrong. Not by our words but by our testimonies. By our witness. Oh, that we might be like the first church apostles. That we might be Pauls and Peters and Stephens.

I don’t write about controversial things. But when I do, rest assured, it is because God has laid it on my heart to do so. So perhaps you disagree, which you have the right to do. But you have read until here. So think it over.

And maybe, if you are willing. If you will say YES, God will vex you.

And you will be a Revivalist. Fearless. Single-minded.
And your opinion and your witness will marry and even against your better judgment, it will bubble out of you.

And you might just get what you pray for. When God puts a face and a people on your newsfeed and you are comfortable praying for them from half a world away, He might bring them closer. He might make you actually stand on it, risk for it.

He might not tell you to look for the helpers. He might tell you to be one.

But then again, that’s just my opinion. Or maybe it’s my witness.
These days, it’s hard to separate the two.


  1. I am trying to come up with the words to respond to this post. I cannot thank you enough for having the courage to write what the spirit put on your heart to write. I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me while I read this and as I read each sentence something resonated inside me that spoke such life into me. My heart and lips are screaming Yes! I don't want to stay in this comfortable box of Christianity! Found my way here through your comment on Jen Hatmakers post on facebook that has many in an uproar. So thankful I took that extra time to read what others had to say on these issues! :)

  2. Dang, girl! Preach! Like Lori said, I really felt the Spirit moving on my heart as I read your words. Inspiring! Your heart echoes my own. This is an epic battle call! We gotta step up right here. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written, encouraging exhortation for the Church. Keep sharing. Your words are so powerful!!!