Monday, November 9, 2015

Jesus Is the Answer

“You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.  You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.  You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.  Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.  Will you be angry with us forever?  Will you prolong your anger through all generations?  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?  Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.” (Psalm 85:1-7 NIV)

I’ve been a bit nostalgic the past few days.  It was 40 years ago that a lost 19-year-old college freshman found his Father and a love he had longed for but had never before experienced.  It was the mid-70’s and revival was sweeping the country among what was then called the “hippy generation.”  It was made up of young people scarred by the fallout from the Viet Nam war, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and the failed promise of an utopian life via sex and drugs.  The Holy Spirit was moving and young men and women were coming to know Jesus in numbers not seen for generations.  

My conversion came at the tail end of what became known as the “Jesus Movement.”  The memories of that time came flooding back as my wife and I viewed the movie, “Woodlawn,” the story of how a high school football team in the early 1970’s had a major impact on the struggles for desegregation in Birmingham, Alabama.  The entire team gave their lives to Jesus and demonstrated the truth of Galatians 3:26-28, that in Jesus we are all one regardless of our race, gender, or ethnic background. 

Forty years later, it seems we are returning to much of the same environment that was present then.  Hatred for one another is being spewed on social media.  Protests and riots follow what are believed to be racist and unjust events.  The cracks in our society are beginning to resemble those of an earlier generation.  And the suggested remedies are similar as well—more understanding, more tolerance, more justice.

In the movie, there is a scene where Hank, the team chaplain, asks the players if they aren’t tired of all the anger, hatred, and injustice.  If so, he says, then there is only one way to solve it—Jesus.  The team responds to his invitation en masse, and the anger and hatred among the team members dissipates into love.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all the anger and hate in our society right now.  I’m tired of the greed, the callousness, the self-centeredness, the shallowness, and the pettiness of people.  And I know no hashtag campaign or petition is going to make any real difference. Nor are conferences or summits on diversity and peace. No, what we need is a revival where the Spirit is transforming hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, where the walls of hostility are broken down not by force but by love, and where seated on the thrones of our lives is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

You may think it a cliché, but the truth is Jesus IS the answer.  Indeed, He is the only way out of this mess.  So I am committing myself to pray earnestly for revival in this nation of ours, for repentant hearts and transformed lives. It has happened before; it can happen again.  Today, will you join me in praying for God to begin a revival among the people of our nation? We need it in the most desperate of ways.  

© Jim Musser 2015

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