By Melissa Nordell
I was interceding desperately about Coronavirus shortly after it began when I felt the Lord telling me that He was going to do something with His Church through this; and immediately the Lord gave me a vision along with words of wisdom to explain what He was saying.
This colorful vision had congregants of differing spiritual ages in a church, sitting in contemporary pew-type chairs. Suddenly, the rug underneath the pews was pulled out from under the congregants from the back. This was so sudden and unexpected that it startled everyone and immediately caused the people in the “pews” to fly up and off their seats! It was an unforeseen and unsettling surprise. No one was hurt but it was such a bewildering jolt.
Whatever you believe about this virus, we know that this chaotic situation’s true source is of the devil and the result of a fallen world. The Lord explained that this has upended “church as usual” in so many respects, startling everyone and getting us all out of our normal church routines – and He will use this time for the greatest good out of a stormy, unusual and desperate mess. It has been somewhat of a “fast” from “church as usual” to change our focus as well as to begin to do things differently. We know that ”getting the rug pulled out” from under someone means to suddenly or unexpectedly remove or rescind support, leaving them in a problematic or difficult situation. As Christians have gotten too comfortable sitting in church pews and not being the Church, the Lord is going to use this horrible unsettling time ultimately to make changes within (Rom 8:28) but we must intercede and repent for this transition to occur.
I also came to realize that many unsettling recent occurrences could also be a part of upending the Church. Of course the Church did not cause this virus or other situations, and there is no necessity to put blame on anyone within or without the Church but we do know that when the Church as a whole repents, things will change as His Word says in Joel 2.
Often quoted, Joel 2 is known as a chapter of prelude to revival and harvest before the Lord’s return. In Joel 2:17 it says: “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” As born-again believers, we are all called priests; and this scripture calls us as priests to weep or travail (intercede) between the porch (representing the people) and the altar unto the Lord. This is a classic example of standing in the gap to intercede for the people of the Church unto God: a necessary appointment, especially in this time.
Also well known, Joel 2:12 and 13 tells us that we must repent, fast and travail before the Lord’s return: “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”
The scriptures following verse 17 show what will happen after the priests (us) weep, fast, travail and repent: “Then the LORD became jealous for His land, and He spared His people. And the LORD answered His people: “Behold, I will send you grain, new wine, and oil. And by them you will be satisfied and I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. The northern army I will drive away from you, banishing it to a barren and desolate land, its front ranks into the Eastern Sea, and its rear guard into the Western Sea. And its stench will rise; its foul odor will ascend. For He has done great things. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years that the swarming locusts have eaten— the young locust, the destroying locust, and the devouring locust— My great army that I sent against you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are satisfied. You will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you. My people will never again be put to shame. Then you will know that I am present in Israel and that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:18-28). These scriptures are conditional meaning that when the priests (us) weep and stand in the gap before God and repent, then blessings and healing of the land will flow, as well as His Spirit being poured out on all.
As the Lord explained more to me about this vision, He reminded me that just as Jesus demonstrated in an episode of righteous anger shortly before he was betrayed, He overturned the money changers’ tables in the Temple in Matthew 21; and the Church is being “upended” similarly in this current situation as well. The Word records that Jesus said “…It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Of course, this was the moneychangers’ tables and He did speak to the greed here in these scriptures; but He was angry that they had made His church something that was not a house of worship unto Him and not a house of prayer
If there has been a famine in the land of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11) in some churches and in our personal lives, crises should bring us desperately hungering in a dry and thirsty land hard after Him like the deer panting after the water brook (Ps 42:1). Like everyone, I am looking forward to the soon-coming day when we will celebrate, assembling together in a revolutionized Church, bringing Reformation and the biggest harvest ever, just as the prophets have been forthtelling; but only if we repent for our ways.
As the Lord says in Rev 2:4 & 5 to the Church of Ephesus: “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” The church of Ephesus was doing pretty well in God’s eyes here in Rev. 2, but they still needed to repent (just as the Lord asked all the seven churches to repent quickly) – or else the candlestick of life and light would be snuffed out.
I would estimate that 95% of transformational intercession to change society and nations involves repentance. Therefore, as a Church we must repent for this root of making His House anything other than what Jesus said the Church should be. Please note that the problem does not lie with leadership alone but with all of us since we all have sinned, using the Church for something other than what it should be with our sins of commission and omission, as things other than prayer and worship have attained way too much importance, and above all our lack of love.
A familiar scripture, 2 Chron 7:14 also verifies that nations change when we get to the root: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Notice that it is imperative to humble ourselves, necessitating repentance…then and only then will our land be healed, and this awful situation changed. This is another scripture that is conditional, meaning that something needs to change for the result to come (notice the beginning word “if” is a conditional word).
We can see by the Word that judgment always comes first to the House of God (the Church) before it comes to the world in 1 Peter 4:17: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” The Church must change for this Transformation and Reformation to come (Reformation and Transformation affects large parts of society and is much more lasting and effectual than the word revival).
Even though the Church never caused this chaos and struggle to exist, it exists, nonetheless. God does not give us guilt but does bring conviction to get us to make necessary changes. And when the Church repents, things always change. Adding everything up, sin opens doors and if we humble ourselves corporately and individually, repent and renounce our sin of making the Church something that it should not be, then God will heal our lands of this horrible mess, Reformation will come, and the Bride will be cleansed and made ready for His soon return.
So, pray with me in faith believing: Father God, forgive us as we weep between the porch and the altar, renouncing our sins of making the Church anything other than Jesus said it should be. We repent and turn from our wicked ways. Father, show us where we fell short and brought iniquity into the Church and into our hearts. Father, demonstrate to us where we need to change individually and corporately as well as how to do it as we want the Church to be pleasing unto you. We ask you to cleanse our hearts and heal our land, destroy this wicked virus, and help us to dwell in unity and love. And make us, your Bride, ready bringing Reformation and multitudes of souls in the last big boatload for the end-time Harvest. All for your Glory, in Jesus’ matchless and powerful name.