I’m writing this as a fire is out of control in one of my favorite places, I am so saddened and praying for those who are suffering. Action through prayer and relief is needed, but I also want to draw a spiritual picture for your faith as you pray.
Ten percent of the city of Redding, California, attends the church Bethel with pastor Bill Johnson. The church has had an impact not only on its own city but also in different nations, as Bethel has inspired churches around the world.
Right now, Bethel’s own church building is being threatened as well as thousands of houses, companies, hospitals, schools, farms and other important buildings.
I am urging you to pray for this great city and the surrounding towns (Shasta and Whiskeytown among others) the prayer of Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Before the greatest modern outpouring for charismatic and Pentecostalism, there was a great earthquake in San Francisco. It devastated the city, and believers began to pray and act. Some interpreted it as the voice of God wanting to wake people up to conviction. Others felt it was the enemy releasing hell because he knew heaven was about to visit and bring in more salvations than the world had seen in this generation.
An example of the San Francisco earthquake:
At 5:12 a.m. on the morning of April 18, 1906, San Francisco, California, was struck by a deadly and powerful earthquake. Most seismologists believe the quake exceeded 8.0 on the Richter Scale. Though it only lasted between 45 and 60 seconds, the earthquake and subsequent conflagration left over 3,000 people dead, destroyed over 28,000 buildings, and rendered over a quarter of a million people homeless (“San Francisco Earthquake”). The devastating disaster caused panic throughout Southern California, and the saints of the newly-formed Azusa Street Mission, who viewed the convulsions as a sure sign that God was going to pour out.
All Christians began to see the opportunity to love and help drown out fear, so they escalated evangelism, and Christians were the first responders all around California for relief. This was the stage that was set right before the next great awakening of America that started in 1908 through many movements, most notably, the Azusa Street Revival.
Before God moves in power and might, we have seen a pattern in many revivals or waves a pre-action on the earth: depressions, natural disasters, wars and rumors of war. Almost every time a whole region gets hit by something natural, man-made or enemy-initiated, the glory of God follows shortly after in unprecedented ways.
I believe what God will do in Redding shortly after this terrible week will be historic for the church at large and will help to bring about a window of evangelism and ingenuity to the church that will come across media, both Christian and secular: Breakthrough is imminent!
Let’s pray in the moment for the beautiful lives, the identity of the towns that are suffering, the resources for rebuilding, the state and national response. But let’s also believe in faith that Redding in particular just got its next guaranteed installment of glory that will be exported to nations.