Riots and Revival

praying man
Photo by Marquise Kamanke on Unsplash

Riots motivated by racial injustice destroy a town . . .

. . . was a scene from my 2nd book of the HOPE Trilogy, published three weeks ago.

At the time, I would not have guessed I’d be spending the Saturday night before Pentecost under a citywide curfew as the National Guard had to be called in to restore order in my own city.

My HOPE Trilogy is about a small town in Colorado that experiences revival and transformation. But when the light comes, it first reveals all the evil hidden in darkness so that it can be dealt with. Only then can the town become a “city set on a hill” that draws others to its light.

Right now there is more prayer going on for revival in America than at any time I can remember. I believe God is hearing and answering our prayers. He’s revealing very specific things we can repent of, such as (but definitely not limited to):

  • systemic racism
  • pervasive gender bias and mistreatment in schools, sports and the workplace
  • a health care system that was designed to take good care of the rich
  • an unhealthy exaltation of our national economy: considering it our top priority in how we vote, and equating a strong economy with national “greatness”

I disagree with those who glibly promise, “We’re the greatest nation on earth—very soon we’ll bounce back from this.” I believe their confidence is misplaced.

I would prefer to hear our leaders say, “These shakings of our nation we brought upon ourselves. Our best solutions must begin with a National Day of Repentance. Those of us in power positions (law enforcement, legal system, law maker, boss in the workplace) must shepherd others in fear and trembling, fully aware that God may remove us and raise up new shepherds for His flock.”

For all those with authority over someone else, it’s time to take to heart the words of Jesus, that our nation will be judged on the final day based on how we treated “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

When the L.A. Riots of 1992 happened, I was a young man, patrolling my neighborhood at night, stunned that such a thing could happen so long removed from the Civil Rights Movement.

Now my adult children are trapped in their homes at night, watching the exact same scenes unfold. Another generation has passed, and we still haven’t changed.

Will we repent and learn the lessons of #MeToo, the Covid-19 virus, and the riots of Pentecost weekend 2020? If we do, we’ll still have many other issues to work on before we can call ourselves a “great” nation. But we’ll be on the right path.

Or is what we really care about a restored economy? Once we’re out spending money on shopping and entertainment again, will we keep putting off dealing with these social issues for another generation?

The path toward revival, and to becoming the kind of nation that passes the tests of judgment day, begins here: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (I Peter 5:6)

And what steps do we need to take after that?

You’ll have to read book #3 of my HOPE Trilogy to find out. 🙂

Published by Jim Baton

Jim Baton (pen name) has spent over 25 years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray. Jim's writing, speaking and teaching is helping Christians and Muslims build bridges of understanding, love and prayer both in Muslim nations and at home in America. His novels contain a depth of understanding regarding the roots of the Christian and Muslim conflict, how to bring healing to Abraham’s broken family, how to combat terrorism with non-violence and love, and how to become a true peacemaker.

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