Concerning the election results, I was right and I was wrong in what I thought would be the outcome, and, at the Lord's behest, chose to remain silent rather than issue a prophetic statement about who would win. In the aftermath of election day, the nature of that mix of right and wrong became clear and significant.
On Sept. 29 as I prayed for the outcome of the presidential election the Lord said to me, "He isn't the man I chose, but I will elect him. Close by a two point margin." In my intense desire not to see Barack Obama get another four years, I supplied the name "Mitt Romney" as the one the Lord referred to. Intense emotion and strong desire tend to distort what we hear from God. Out of the storehouse of our flesh, we fill in the blanks according to what we want to hear or what our emotions predispose us to hear. This explains the many false prophetic pronouncements so many of us have seen and read, even from leading voices.
Having learned this principle the hard way, I sensed the Father's hand of restraint, respected the nagging doubt I felt, and chose not to publish what I believed I heard. When I shared what I thought it meant with a few others in private settings, I qualified it by saying that because of my intense emotional involvement in the issue, I could not be certain that God really spoke what I thought I heard and I made it clear that I was not, therefore, speaking prophetically. It appears, however, that I did hear accurately, but was confused concerning which candidate it applied to. Although I do not believe Obama was the man God actually chose, God did elect him and he won the popular vote by a two percentage point margin, just as God spoke it to me. My sense is that He honored the will of the people, much as He did when the Israelites asked for a king and, under protest, God granted one. It wasn't what God would have chosen, but God did appoint the man. He went not with His own heart, but with the will of the people. Thus it was on Nov. 6.
In any case, the election is now over and the decision has been made. It wasn't the one many of us in evangelical and conservative circles wanted. What now?
First, in the aftermath of the campaign, the Lord reminded me of a prophetic word I received in 2008 that I had come to doubt—wrongly. God told me that if believers would pray and not fall into religious-spirited criticism and hate, the president would experience a life-changing encounter with the real Jesus while in office. Although I knew that we might never be permitted to know of such an encounter, I had given up on seeing that word fulfilled. It now appears that we have been given another four years in which to pray and to see that prophetic word come to pass. We must lay down the harsh rhetoric and bitter criticisms to pray in love and with utmost grace, whether or not such an encounter measurably changes his politics.
Second, in "Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare" I have written that we are living in a crucial time of preparation for some extremely difficult days to come, both financially and in the world of nature. The season for politics has now ended and we have a limited period of time in which to get ready. In May, 2010 the Lord told me that we have been granted five years in which to prepare. This could mean either a literal five years that began in that year, or, in keeping with the symbolism of the number 5, it could indicate a period of grace of indeterminate length that can be extended by prayer. Had Romney been elected, this season of preparation for the financial aspects of the coming collapse could have been extended, although the inevitable remains the inevitable. With Obama in office, we will not have as much time as we might have had under Romney. The level of urgency has therefore risen. We must now devote ourselves to kingdom concerns and to raising up and strengthening lighthouse churches and ministries to shine in a darkening world and to provide islands of mercy and healing for the human suffering to come. In light of this, we must prepare to receive an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the midst of gathering darkness and set our hearts to function as the church did in Acts 2 relationally, spiritually and materially.
Third, in the near term - the next few years - expect unemployment in the neighhborhood of 8% and higher to persist. The nation will become accustomed to this and what we once considered unacceptable will become the new and accepted norm. Despite any claims made to the contrary, the national debt will continue to soar as incomes fall and increasing numbers of Americans become more and more dependent on the government for support. This mounting debt will contribute to the ongoing devaluation of the dollar, which will fuel inflation and dramatically diminish the real income and buying power of the average citizen. Nevertheless, relative to what is coming, these current years are years of peace. Collapse of the international monetary system is inevitable and we must use the time we have to the best advantage. We in the church must be ready to meet escalating spiritual and emotional needs. We must grow up and live as true disciples.
Readiness necessitates a renewed focus on the very reason for which we have been saved. God didn't save us to make us rich. Jesus didn't die so that we could own the best car and the nicest home. Economics and material wellbeing are irrelevant to the ultimate purpose of God, which is that we might be "conformed to the image of the Son" (Romans 8:29 ). God will turn all things to good for us (Romans 8:28), but, in the context of the verse, the good He produces is defined by being "conformed to the image of the Son". Harder times will come, but we can prepare for them by determining to allow God to cause all things both good and bad to shape our character to conform to His.
Readiness necessitates that we choose faithful oneness with other believers who worship together, serve together and live out covenant love together. Jesus prayed, "that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:21). and He meant it. We will need one another desperately when it all comes unravelled. Pay close attention to covenant relationships in the days to come and guard them zealously. Acts 2, in which the saints enjoyed supernatural unity and sold their possessions and property to share with others as any had need, should be required reading for meditation in the days to come. Get connected relationally and then give sacrificially for the sake of love.
Finally, those who choose a kingdom path through these difficult days will realize that we no longer live in a Christian nation and will adjust their approach, attitude and language in relation to the surrounding culture to correspond to that of the Christians under Rome, or Daniel under Nebuchadnezzar, serving rather than sniping, gaining favor through love, even in a hostile and godless culture. Those caught up in the religious spirit will continue in an old and failed strategy that, because of its lovelessness and harsh tone, no longer speaks to what we've become as a nation.
R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, includingUnderstanding Prophetic People, The Prophetic Church and his latest, Renewal for the Wounded Warrior, which are available with other resources at the church's website.