Inevitably, when disasters strike, the charismatic Christian world begins to ask what is the prophetic significance of these events. The fires in Colorado are no exception.
Is there some hidden meaning or message in the conflagration? It is never long after such questions begin to surface that judgments and condemnations posing as prophetic words begin to be heard.
But what do the fires really mean? And if this were the hand of God, why would one of those fires so devastate a city in which are located approximately 100 Christian ministries (other than churches) as well as one of the largest churches in the state? ??
Here is my answer: I don't believe there is a cause, meaning or message specific to Colorado in all this. Nor do I believe there to be a cause, meaning or message specific to any other disaster currently or recently experienced in other places.
I live in Denver. I am painfully familiar with our transgressions both as a city and as the church in this city. I don't believe these fires result from the collective sins of Colorado, our lack of unity, our 8 percent church attendance (including Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) or any other genuine cause of the Lord's displeasure.
I find it a long and even cruel leap to assume that God Himself actually pre-planned this tragedy affecting believers and unbelievers alike for the purpose of delivering a message or sending a judgment just for Colorado. ??I think rather that it is part of something I (and others) have long prophesied for the earth and included in Visions of the Coming Days, that we would see an increase in natural disasters around the world because the earth can no longer bear up under the accumulated sin of mankind and is finally reacting.
The evidence is that we are experiencing floods in Florida, extended droughts in other places and temperatures in some regions shattering records set many years ago. The fires in Colorado and other places follow upon the driest and warmest spring in anyone's memory. We have seen devastating tornadoes in the American midwest breaking records for both numbers and destructive power. Recent earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, Italy and other nations have devastated countless lives. This list represents just a few of the natural disasters afflicting the earth in our time.
If there's a message to be received in all this, it's about mercy, repentance for sin and crying out to God in prayer, not condemning and blaming those who don't share our sense of morality or political persuasion.?? These disasters are the inevitable result of what mankind has sown. They are not—at least not yet—the judgment of our God whose very nature is love.
Maybe it's just my Native-American genetics crying out, but the earth itself now speaks its warning, expressing its pain, and we'd best listen. I am grieved at the chorus of voices I have heard rising in loveless condemnation of sinners, homosexuals, politicians and others as these fires and other disasters progress.
As a Bible-believing, conservative, charismatic Christian and as a political conservative, I would agree with the wrongness of what many regard to be sinful in these areas. This is not, however, the time for that kind of talk, even if true. This is rather a time for intercession, repentance (as the Lord grants revelation), and huge doses of mercy for hurting people, no matter who they are. ??
Fires are devouring people's homes and memories. Earthquakes have devastated major cities. Droughts and floods have caused crop failures, causing food prices to rise and some to starve in various parts of the world. People are suffering. This is what matters right now.
Our church, for instance, is sending a truckload of water, clothing, diapers and other materials to Colorado Springs, Colo., to minister love and support to hurting people who have lost their homes or been forced to evacuate. I know of other churches doing the same and I pray that more step up to the plate.??
PLEASE, this is a time for mercy. Let's focus there. When a pandemic of plague struck the Roman Empire, the persecuted Christians did NOT cry out that it was God's judgment for profligate immorality, idolatry and oppression, although they would have been able to point legitimately to extreme moral corruption of every kind.
Instead, they ministered to the victims. In fact, they were the only ones who would. This is how they won souls and grew the early church. We must do the same, especially as human suffering escalates. And please, Lord, come quickly!
About the author: R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People, The Prophetic Church, Renewal for the Wounded Warrior and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days, which are available with other resources at the church's website.