The Only Hope in the Coming Storm: The Calm Before the Storm
By Reverend David Wilkerson
We Are Experiencing the Calm Prior to The Greatest Storm America Has Ever Suffered!
I first delivered this message as a sermon to Times Square Church on April 4, 1997. Just two days before that, on Friday, April 2, the stock market reached an all-time high of over 7,000. Newscasters and magazines boasted: “America is enjoying its greatest prosperity ever. Unemployment has fallen below 5 percent, and there is very little labor strife. Profits are at an all-time high, and people’s purchasing power is up. At the same time, interest rates are low, and home sales are increasing. America is riding the crest of a booming wave of good news, prosperity and peace.”
It all sounds like good news, doesn’t it? Yet the Bible says whenever people are crying, “Peace and prosperity!”, sudden destruction is about to fall. Over the years, I have received letters from people saying, “You’ve been prophesying for years about ‘gathering storm clouds’ and a ‘coming crash.’ Yet all you’ve done is scare a lot of Christians who trust your word. The truth is, the opposite has happened. Instead of experiencing a storm, we’ve seen a boom, with record-breaking prosperity. There isn’t one sign on the horizon to suggest a coming crisis.”
The fact is, the apostle Peter warned that many believers would react this way: “…there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3). In other words: “People will say, ‘Where’s the so-called storm? Everything is continuing today as it always has!”
Beloved, God has judged every past society for lesser sins than America’s. Consider: No other nation has killed more babies than the United States has through abortion. Our soil cries out with the blood of these children! We’d rather save the life of a whale than one of our own babies. America has the world’s highest rate of illegitimate pregnancies. Teenage crime in this country is the highest in the free world. Americans now spend more money on dog food than on foreign missions.
We have begun to glorify homosexuality and lesbianism. Our media applauds the “bravery” of gays who declare their sexual orientation – but we ought to weep over it! TV’s “Ellen” was hailed as a heroine when she came out of the closet on national television. Yet at one time, Christians across the country would have been on their faces crying out to God for mercy over such immorality. Network newscasts showed images of half-naked gay women in Florida celebrating “Lesbian Pride Week.” An estimated 30,000 women gathered to indulge in drunken orgies all night long for a whole week. And local officials applauded it, saying, “It’s wonderful that they’re all together here.” But it must have been breaking God’s heart! Radical homosexuals cry out to society, “In your face!” Yet what they’re really saying is, “In your face, God!”
America has brazenly kicked God out of its schools and courts. Now there’s even a movement to remove his name from the Pledge of Allegiance and from all U.S. coins. People no longer want to hear even the mention of his name! Fifty million Americans now smoke pot, and millions more are hooked on heroin, crack and other hard drugs. Our schools have become bastions of blasphemy and agnosticism. Our children have been robbed of all moral standards, denied all access to God – and they’re reacting by becoming more violent and rebellious. Beloved, God destroyed Noah’s generation, as well as Sodom, all for lesser sins than ours. What arrogance to think that while these societies were judged severely, we might be spared!
Very Soon, America Is Going To Wake Up to a Sudden News Report of Calamity – and the Storm Will Be Upon Us Suddenly!
The psalmist describes how God’s rod of judgment will fall overnight: “In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them…all the horns of the wicked also will I cut off…” (Psalm 75:8, 10).
In Revelation, this cup is called “…the cup of his indignation…” (Revelation 14:10). In other words, it’s full of God’s wrath. Simply put, America’s cup of iniquity is overflowing – and all of our sins are going to turn into his holy wrath! You may be saying, “Why do you have to put such a scare into people? Why shouldn’t we just enjoy this prosperity while it’s here? You should be glad about all the goods things that are happening, especially in New York City. Walt Disney has moved in and taken over the once-seedy 42nd Street. Now all the smut and porn shops are gone, and everything in Times Square is family-oriented. There won’t be any riots here, as you predict, with over a thousand fires burning. Relax, pastor, and enjoy it!”
No – Mickey Mouse can’t stop the coming storm! The fact is, Disney has become one of the world’s most corrupt media systems. Its movies are rife with homosexuality, violence and the occult. Indeed, such businesses are the very reason God will send the storm – and it will come quickly!
I remember as a young boy hearing a sudden news report that instantly changed America’s peaceful slumber. Our family was riding along on a beautiful, peaceful Sunday afternoon to a country church where my father was going to preach. We had just stopped for ice cream when a sudden news flash came over the car radio: “We interrupt this program to bring you this news report: Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor!” I still remember the look on Dad’s face; he was in utter disbelief.
That night at church, everyone was baffled. “What’s happening?” they wondered aloud. “How could we suddenly be bombed? In the days that followed, we had “blackouts” in which we all had to cover the windows in our homes and schools. Everyone feared a sudden bomber attack! And, beloved, so it will be suddenly when the storm hits. It will come like a thief in the night, bringing sudden panic and disbelief. Right now you may be thinking, “Let it come! If calamity strikes, I’ll deal with it then. After all, I’m in God’s hands. I’ll be ready – so I’m not going to worry about it. Jesus will see me through.”
Yet, let me ask you: Why does God tell his prophets to shout their warnings from the housetops? He wants to warn his people – to stir us up to seek him! He wants to convict us of all our attempts to cast off Christ’s yoke and cozy up to the world. He wants us to keep our eyes on Jesus – to seek heavenly things – because those are the only things that will stand in the coming storm!
The Only Hope in the Coming Storm!
Just before his death and resurrection, Jesus stared into the face of a horrible coming storm. He saw what was just ahead: Jerusalem would be surrounded by powerful armies, the temple would be destroyed, the city would be burned to the ground, and thousands of people would die on crosses erected by the invading enemy. Their entire society was about to collapse! Now, Jesus was the very embodiment of God’s love. And yet he warned, prophesied and wept over his society, because he saw what was coming:
Matthew 24:2 “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:19-20 “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.”
If you think about it, Jesus’ day was very similar to ours: Peace, calm and prosperity ruled. Children played in the streets. There were no signs of judgment anywhere. Yet Jesus described his society as a generation of vipers: priests who robbed widows, scoffers blasphemers, adulterers, child offenders, a corrupt church full of moneychangers, a ministry filled with wolves in sheep’s clothing, false accusers, liars, cheats, hypocrites, lovers of pleasure, fornicators, corrupt children. He warned, “You’re about to be surrounded by enemy armies. Now, prepare your hearts – because there’s a storm coming!”
When I first prepared this message, I was overwhelmed by a spirit of foreboding. All I could think of was the church’s terrible condition and how the devil was using subtle evils to deceive God’s elect. Christians seemed focused mostly on their own needs – “my needs, my problems, my past, my future – how my parents hurt me, how the church has wounded me, how my friends have failed me…” God’s people were no longer weeping over a dying world! For a while, this truly overwhelmed me. Then the Holy Spirit showed me how our Lord reacted in the face of the coming storm.
The apostle John writes, “…as he is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). The simple fact is, we have to have Jesus’ mindset in all things – or our hearts will fail us! The Bible gives no evidence of Christ being downcast, fearful or hopeless. He didn’t panic or despair. In spite of all he saw coming, Jesus knew the final outcome. He knew the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against God’s people!
David gives us a clear picture of Jesus’ attitude in the face of the coming storm. He speaks prophetically of Christ, saying, “…I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts 2:25). The literal meaning here is, “I was always in his presence, beholding his face.” David quoted Jesus as saying, “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” (verse 26).
Here is the secret: Jesus kept the father always before his face! Jesus continually sought out secret places to be shut in with his father. And it was only after being in God’s presence that Christ came forth to minister, fully persuaded that his father was always with him: “He’s at my right hand – and nothing on this earth can move me!” The Greek word for “moved” here means “agitated or shaken, disturbed.” Jesus was saying, “None of these problems, evils or coming events can cast me down or shake my confidence. My father is in complete control!”
Beloved, if we’re going to face the coming storm, then we need to be prepared so nothing disturbs our spirit. And the only way to do that is to spend time in the father’s presence, beholding his face. We have to be shut in with him – on our knees – until we’re thoroughly persuaded he’s at our right hand! God is clearly telling us, “Don’t be moved or agitated by anything you see. Keep your eyes focused on me – and you’ll retain your joy!” And according to David, Jesus testified, “…thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:28).
It’s as if Christ is telling us, “I faced everything you’re going to face in the closing days of time. I had the same foreboding feelings, because I saw the coming storm. But I ran into the presence of my father, and he lifted all my concerns! He showed me the outcome to it all. And in his presence I found all the joy, hope and rest I would ever need, to the very end. I have peace and joy because I’ve been with him!” “…my flesh shall rest in hope” (Acts 2:26b).
This word was taken from The David Wilkerson Times Square Church Pulpit Series which is sent out every three weeks free-of-charge by regular mail and by e-mail subscription. E-mail subscription instructions are available on the Subscription Instructions Page through the internet ministry of Times Square Church Pulpit Series. David Wilkerson’s ministry does NOT have an e-mail address for correspondence.
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Topic: Messages to the Church: Calm Before the Storm
Related Topics: What the Bible Says about False Prophets; Lying Signs & Wonders; God’s Gift of the Holy Spirit; Prayer; Speaking/Praying in Tongues; Travailing Prayer