When I was in the eighth or ninth grade, my Daddy bought me a horse. Her name was Sugar and at first, she was as sweet as her name. Then Sugar realized I was a greenhorn cowboy, and she started misbehaving like her name was Diablo. She would get to the edge of our yard, and she would “pitch a fit”. After about two go arounds of that, I was more afraid of her than she was of me.
My Daddy being an old school country boy who worked with animals all his life told me, “Son, you’re gonna have to show her who’s boss!” I didn’t feel like a boss and so I just left her in the pasture for a while. I would try from time to time but the same thing would happen. I would give up, unsaddle her, and put her back in the pasture. That was just what she wanted! She was winning the battles, but the war wasn’t over.
One day I had enough! I made up my mind and saddled Ole Sugar. I mounted up with only three options in mind—she would kill me, I would kill her, or she was going to ride. So, we got to the edge of the yard at her usual “fit pitching” place, and she pitched a fit. I didn’t turn back but let’s just say, “I made her believe I was a real cowboy!” From that day on, I could do anything with Ole Sugar. I rode her up and down mountains, swam across water holding to her mane, and rode her at neck-break speed. I learned to ride, and she learned to behave.
There are times in our life when we have had enough and begin to seek change. These spiritual pivot points are when we have had enough. Before we hit that point, there are weeks, months, and maybe years where we go through the motions of life defeated and miserable. One day we wake up from our spiritual stupor and say I am not going to keep living like this.
Uncomfortable situations often drive us to that pivot point, when we finally turn to God, turn things over to God, and make some drastic changes in our lives with God’s help. These uncomfortable situations can be personal, family related, church related, or even community related.
I have been praying for a spiritual pivot point for our country and the world. It seems each year things get a little crazier. Nothing will change until God’s people get to that pivot point of praying for a spiritual renewal, revival, or awakening (pick your favorite term).
Complaining will not change anything. Ballot boxes will not bring spiritual awakening. Swapping one ineffective church program for a shiny new ineffective program will not bring a spiritual renewal.
I believe the first step toward a spiritual awakening will be when people finally have had enough. So maybe the pain is not severe enough to get us to pray as we should and repent of our sins. Once we get uncomfortable enough, perhaps we will begin to look to God for the answers and begin to pray. Maybe we are not uncomfortable enough yet.
During the time of the judges in the Old Testament, God’s people would get fat and satisfied, and turn away from God. God would allow them to be oppressed by their enemies, they would become uncomfortable, and finally turn back to God. Discomfort produces repentance and prayer. Repentance and prayer produce renewal.
I am a little conflicted to pray for renewal because it most likely will bring more discomfort on us before true repentance kicks in.
By the way, I don’t ride horses anymore—the ground is too hard for my old bones. I’m not too old to pray. I am so uncomfortable with what I see, I am praying more than ever. I am praying for the fire of God to rekindle the embers in our churches. I am praying for God to put flesh on the dead bones and breathe into the dead bodies, so His people will stand on their feet as a spiritual army of God.
Ezekiel 37:7-10 NKJV
(7) So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
(8) Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
(9) Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ “
(10) So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt