Vigilant In Crucial Times
By Lois J. Stucky
If you are not experiencing a crucial situation personally, or in your family, in your circle of friends or in your church – it may well be you are in the minority, for many today are facing deeper crises than they have ever experienced before. And surely on the national and international scene there is much that could be called a crisis. Just today we received a phone call from missionary friends in Africa who needed immediate prayer for guidance and protection as armed rebel forces were known to be only hours away en route to the city where they were living. All else became secondary as we took time to pray together. Such a matter is typical of a vast field of urgent situations that have potential for far-reaching, negative impact whether open conflict is involved or not.
Our Lord Jesus, in a solemn and significant conversation with His disciples, warned us to expect troublesome times in the latter days. Our Lord instructed His followers not to be alarmed and frightened by such happenings although we cannot but be burdened by the increasing iniquity. And He told us to pay close attention and be vigilant. "Take heed" He repeated to them several times as He addressed them (Mark 13:5, 9, 23, 33). "Watch and pray!" He solemnly charged them.
The Apostle Paul lived in crisis days. The title of the front-page article sounds forth the secret of his overcoming life. Knowing the deep, unswerving devotion of the Apostle Paul to His beloved Lord and Savior, it is not surprising that he points us to victory "through our Lord Jesus Christ." What is utterly impossible to us is possible as we appropriate Christ’s victory as our own. This is essential! You will profit much if you take time to study the front-page and other articles in this issue and appropriate God’s Word for yourself, putting it to use in your own life.
As the Apostle Paul concludes his powerful words of instruction and exhortation in Ephesians chapter 6, it is obvious that the goal is far greater than simply maintaining personal victory. He would have us powerful in praying for others, and in all our service for God, for he writes: "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." The ultimate purpose is the spreading of the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Eph. 6:18-19).
In our own nation, there has been a prayer momentum building these last months. Now that intense political concerns have lessened, might we not let down in prayer! Issues of far more eternal value beg for our prayers. Might we redouble our efforts in prayer, and expand them to encircle the globe. Recall that Jesus said, "…this Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). There are millions of souls yet to hear the blessed Gospel. A battle cry of the Herald has been, "World evangelization through world revival." A church on fire with revival will be aflame to reach lost souls. Pray, pray for revival! Gather with others for prayer! Revive languishing prayer meetings! Resurrect those meetings that have died! Let’s discipline ourselves to do whatever is necessary to get time for prayer and for obeying whatever the Lord asks us to do.
This fast-moving hour calls for vigilance. We do not know how much time is left to us to reach God for revival and world evangelization. The Lord Jesus instructed: "…be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:44). Blessed, well off, He said, are those who are found faithful and obedient.