I want to hit the panic button. I really do, although I suppose my concern is the fruit of spending too much time online with CNN and MSNBC. Like everyone else right now, I must fight off the tsunami wave of fear every day. God intended prophetic ministry for times like these. So here's my own prophetic scorecard, together with a word of exhortation for believers who feel themselves drowning in a sea of bad news.
Over the last year or more I believe I heard the Lord say five clear things, each of which has developed in just the way the Lord told me it would.1. Long before the presidential election, while many prominent prophetic voices were saying that some great event would develop that would catapult McCain to the White House, I stated that the Lord had told me Barack Obama would be our next president. He is. This is not to exalt myself over others prophetically, but to point out that we prophetic types sometimes fail to separate our own hopes, dreams and passions from the genuine word of the Lord. Been there, done that.
2. I believe the Lord told me that following Obama's election we would see six months of "delusory hope." The dictionary definition of "delusory" is "giving a false or misleading impression." Obama came to power on the wings of some of the highest approval ratings of any president. At this writing his job rating continues to soar at somewhere between 60 percent and 68 percent. And this rating holds at a time when the stock market daily registers its vote of no-confidence in the most rapid and dramatic decline in value that has been seen under any Democratic president. Unemployment soars. GDP plummets. Consumer confidence sinks to a record low. I can't think of a better illustration of "delusory hope." Nothing seems to be working.
3. The Lord told me six months of delusory hope "and then the whirlwind." This was a mixed message with conditions attached. No matter what happens, we are in for a whirlwind of change, especially after the middle of the year. America as we have known it is a thing of the past, and nothing can alter that. This can be bad. This can be good. It depends to a large degree upon the prayers of God's people and the role we choose to play in blessing the world in which we live and in serving the Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzars in our lives—including government officials. If, like Daniel and Joseph, we will use our spiritual gifts to serve our unrighteous kings rather than sitting in self-righteous judgment, we will find ourselves at the epicenter of influence and in high demand for our wisdom. We can once again significantly shape a generation.
I saw papers caught up in the whirlwind. Look for a blizzard of legislation and change to follow. I see coming a revolution in energy, transportation and communication that will rival the Industrial Revolution for its impact on economies and cultures. If the Industrial Revolution could be likened to a tsunami wave, and if the coming revolution can be seen in a similar light, then before the wave there comes a trough. The current recession is the trough before the wave, the time when old things pass away before new things come. A new economy will ultimately emerge.
I believe the Lord told me that we would see the beginnings of recovery in the second half of the year, after the six months. "Beginnings" does not mean "resurgence," however. It will be a long road back.
4. Contra the doom-and-gloomers, and despite my own emotional pull to hit the panic button, America will not collapse economically or politically. In November 2007 the Lord told me—and I published it—that we were about to enter a season of the rollercoaster, when the ups and downs would be dramatic and sudden. It would be frightening, but I wrote that we would not collapse and that it would be a time for believers to cling to and test the depth of their dependence on the Lord.
Many have prophesied destruction for America and proclaimed that we stand under judgment for the murder of 50 million unborn children and other crimes. We are not under judgment. Destruction is not just over the horizon. Biblical judgment is when the enemy invades your country, kills hundreds of thousands of your population, destroys your capital city, razes your temple to the ground and exiles tens of thousands of your best citizens.
We are not under judgment. We are under discipline. Discipline, although painful, comes from the hand of a loving Father to produce correction and character changes in His children. Judgment, on the other hand, destroys when discipline has failed. God is not finished with America. We are not at the point of judgment. Not yet.
5. I have prophesied in the past that due to moral decisions firmly made at the level of culture, there will be no culture-sweeping, culture-changing revival in America. The argument may continue, but the debate is over. However, God will be—and is—raising up lighthouse churches, islands of glory in a sea of mud, to gather in the refugees from the disintegrating culture around us. These will be places of healing, of experiencing the dramatic raw presence of God—places where the least and the lowest will be honored and received and the character of Jesus will prevail in real love and selfless sacrifice. I pray my own church is one of those. I see a number of such congregations springing up across the country, seeking the true heart of the Father and the realization of His kingdom on earth.
All five of these points are currently in progress. All five demand current action and character change from those of us who bear the name "Christian." We hold the future in our hands, whether we enter a golden age for the church and a time of national restoration, or whether we enter into a time, not of discipline for correction, but of judgment for destruction.
Editor's note: In spite of all the changes we have seen in our nation since the election of Barack Obama as president, R. Loren Sandford, founder and senior pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, Colorado (newsongfellowship.org), continues to encourage us not to expect the worst. Sandford is the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People and The Prophetic Church (both published by Chosen). In today's message, he provides us with a "scorecard" of prophetic words he has received that will help us know what to believe in these trying times.