13 Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
Here is a psalm, a prayer, for Christ’s church. When all is well, we’re doing something wrong. The very nature of faith in Christ and the fear of God is foreign to the world system. And the very nature of the world system is to despise anything that is seen as foreign, so affliction is to be expected, indeed, welcomed.
Welcomed? Yes, with open arms. Throughout human history, God has purified his people through affliction, and that happened a lot, because they—we?—have always tended to wander from his way. Even the “good” folks, like Moses, Abraham, and David fell flat on their faces occasionally. Yet, God always willingly forgave his stiff-necked people when they truly repented of their wickedness.
Today’s church—the body of God’s called out ones—conforms so completely to the world system that the uninitiated find it hard to distinguish between the two. Except, that is, in their relative worship practices; Christians’ worship of their risen lord pales in comparison to sports fans’ excitement over their favorite teams. And you know what’s really pathetic? Christians get more excited over their favorite sports teams than they do when worshiping the One who died for them.
Does revival seem to be in order? If God’s people fail to humbly bow before him in grief and repentance, and soon, he’ll have no choice but to remove his hand of protection from the church for a season. The refining fire awaiting God’s wayward church will burn up the wood, hay and stubble, leaving only the holy remnant intact, like gold, silver and precious stones. One way, or the other, God will have his holy church.