‘But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.’ Psalm 31v14-15
Last April, as Sam was first found to have ‘something’ going on in his brain, I found my journey being marked by the Lord in extraordinary ways. He first showed me a link to something that had happened exactly 40 months before and soon after marked out a 70 day season starting on Sam’s birthday, where I was out of the country more than I was in it. I took this to mean ‘a time for restoration’, as in the 70 years Israel were banished from the land so it could rest, before a new generation came back to live in it again. Restoration is the opposite of robbery and robbery was what we were facing. But it was not as simple as that – instead of matters quickly resolving, our journey went deeper: I had forgotten those 70 years were also a time of desolation and exile. Disappointed, but wanting to maintain the integrity of what I had seen, I went back to the Lord with it, and He had me count again, forward this time from the 70th day… and I discovered it was 50 days until 8.9.9. 50 days from the Resurrection to Pentecost, 50 days for the birthing of a new era.
9.9.9 had been prophesied about by Sue Mitchell some years before: 6.6.6-9.9.9 correlating to the 6th to 9th hour of Jesus on the Cross – a time of darkness, a time for something to be finished, a time for hope in the midst of hopelessness. Interesting then that the nationwide Year of Hope was planned for 2008. Wanting to track with this word that had been planted in the nation – in the same way as Smith Wigglesworth’s Word and Spirit one – and being reminded of the end of that time approaching, I was moved to alert those who would engage with this word and pray – that we would finish this season of 3 years and 3 months well and so come fully through into the time that would follow. I marked a 40 day season of prayer from 1.8.9 and put out a 10 day prayer plan for ‘finishing well’. Details of all this can be found on my ministry website Out of the Heart under 2009 initiatives – if you are interested 😉
To get into a prophetic flow like that is an incredible privilege: those few months were full of revelation and anointing. It was primarily a prophetic call to maturity in the Body of Christ; 9 is the number of fullness of fruit and gift. 9.9.9 was calling for those who would be ready to make an emergency response -the spiritual fire, police, ambulance and coastguard. There was a maturity of character the Lord wanted us to attain to, conforming to Christ so that we would be a people united in love and humility able to carry His power into the resurrection days ahead. It was about an ’emerge n see’, a new generation rising and a new story being written.
But meanwhile in my own family we were facing the opposite, robbery of the next generation: Sam was not getting any better. One day my attention was drawn to this door as I was walking down a nearby street – an old door with a brand new lock – and the lock said ERA. The Lord dropped into my heart that this was a door to which He had the keys. He is ‘the One who opens and no man can shut and who shuts and no man can open’ (Isaiah 22v22 and Revelation 3v7); it was a door He would shut in the face of robbery and open for restoration at the right time. Our part was to wait, trust and worship. It was about a new ERA.
These matters are very personal – and yet very far-reaching. On 1st October this year, far down the track, now carrying the diagnosis of terminal cancer, restoration seeming further away than ever, the main speaker at a women’s conference stood up and declared: “It is more than a new season, it is a completely new time, a new ERA! There is no going back!” A few minutes later she pointed straight at me and said “Big doors open on small hinges”.
I have heard a lot of other voices talking about this new era (new time, new day) since then. There is a consensus among those forward-looking leaders that things have changed and we cannot go back to how things were, cannot stay stuck in the patterns of the last century. Christendom is over and we are now exiles in the land, like Daniel and the others, having to engage with a godless society – as the people of the Way did in the first century! The church has been called out from behind its four walls, called to unite for territories and cities and people groups, called to go beyond the congregation to the poor and lost, carrying the good news and presence of God to the streets, schools, media and marketplace. There is so much room to grow in grace and in new expressions of His life that will be relevant to our 21st century culture. God is breaking out all over the place and heaven is very near. The seeds that have been sown in prayer are now going to bear fruit. It is all good and exciting! However, we can’t forget that when Jesus did rise again it was not what they were expecting and they didn’t recognise Him: what came up was not the same as what went into the ground (1 Corinthians 15v37). Some of our ideas about what ‘revival’ looks like may well be incorrect! And, as the Lord always reminds us, there is a timing to it…
To take the narrative of Jesus on the Cross to the next level, “It is finished” did not lead immediately to resurrection, but first to burial, disappointment and mourning, confusion, fear and hiddenness, the disciples resting on the Sabbath and Jesus resting in the tomb – while also facing the powers in the deep places – waiting for dawn on the third day. If we as the church have prophetically gone through such a time of darkness ‘on the cross’, it follows that we have surely died and there is no going back! And although we want to quickly rise up again, God’s timing is not ours – He takes years where we would like it done in weeks! His way of working is that it is only through a time of death and deep testing we will come out into new life: that is clearly what happened for Jesus – the descent before the ascent (Philippians 2).
So while we have been waiting for this door to open wide there has been a lot of testing (10.10.10!) and a lot of waiting: these are months, even years, of transition as we wait for release. Yes it IS about the end of the wilderness, the end of Moses, the crossing over of a new generation into the land – but they had to give up their dependance on manna and fight for their food and homes instead! No wonder we have to be mature… the trials come to equip us as they develop us in character! There is always opposition at a new door and the battle is most intense at the gate.
More on that tomorrow!