The stillness of the morning calm was about to be shattered by a series of explosions that would alter the course of human history. The time: 7:50 a.m. The date: Sunday, December 7, 1941. The place: Pearl Harbor.
Over 300 Japanese airplanes were swarming toward the harbor site. Within a short time, the bombers damaged eight battleships, destroying three – including the USS Arizona, which sank with 1,102 sailors on board. The Hickam and Wheeler air bases lost 177 planes. More than 2,400 servicemen and women lost their lives. The infamous, surprise attack would launch an entire nation into World War II.
But was this disaster really a surprise?
While the Japanese warplanes were still almost an hour away, two American soldiers on a small island in the Pacific scanned their radar and saw dots begin to fill their screen, representing the first wave of more than 180 bomber planes. The men notified their supervisor who unfortunately was an inexperienced novice. He shrugged off the situation with a ho-hum, "Don't worry about it."
Twenty-nine years earlier, a gargantuan, "unsinkable" ocean liner left her British port on her maiden voyage to New York. Just before midnight on April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg. Two and a half hours later the "unsinkable" vessel slipped beneath the icy waters with most of the passengers.
Such a large loss of life also didn't have to be. At the time of the disaster, less than 20 miles away and in sight of each other, another ship, the Californian, sat stationary in the Atlantic Ocean. With the time and capacity to save multiple hundreds of the Titanic's victims, what happened?
Someone on the Californian, who should have known better, ignored the potential for danger and simply decided to turn off the radio that night resulting in the loss of 1,513 lives.
Here's the deal: Scripture exhorts us to "make the most of every opportunity" (Col. 4:5). As strange as it may sound, I believe disaster is coming to our shores to help bring us back to God. Yet in the face of America's imminent judgment (although probably not the final one), multitudes go on with business as usual instead of readjusting priorities and better investing time to prepare for what's ahead.
Is it ultimately going to take a nightmarish calamity to jolt multitudes out of complacency and passivity in Christendom today? Remember Jonathan Edwards in America's first Great Awakening said the primary hindrance to revival is spiritual pride and nothing obliterates this vice like being humbled and brought to new dependence on God alone amidst a disaster. Remember Ps. 107:39 "Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow."
15 "Signs of the Times" Indicating Judgment
The Bible warns us about saying "everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation"(1Pet. 3:4) when judgment is at hand. We know that God is "patient not wanting anyone to perish" (v.9), but there comes a time when the gavel falls!
After Hurricane Katrina I spoke with a former resident of Louisiana. He told me he grew up hearing warnings of levies breaking but folks simply tuned it out when nothing happened. This describes America today.
If you fell asleep like a Rip Van Winkle for 30 years and awoke today, imagine how shocked you would be at what happened to America.
1. Divorce: Increased from 4 percent to 51 percent in one generation.
2. Cohabitation: 65 percent of "altar-bound" singles live together (euphemism for lifestyle fornication).
3. Abortion: 57 million unborn babies aborted, some with taxpayer funding and now part of socialized medicine.
4. Marijuana: Being legalized in states.
5. Euthanasia and Infanticide: Being legalized under camouflage names.
6. Pornography: Rampant, graphic, just a "click away" on hand held devices.
7. Homosexuality, lesbian and transgender lifestyles: Promoted even by our President along with gay marriage and homosexual ordinations.
8. Movies and music: Standards almost nonexistent with graphic nudity, profanity and blasphemy commonplace.
9. Out-of-wedlock births: 1st time in U.S history – more than 50 percent.
10. Sexually transmitted diseases: Over 110 million in our population infected.
11. Economic insanity: $18 trillion national debt; 90 million unemployed deriving benefits; 60 billion in annual Medicare fraud and waste.
12. Illegal immigration: Over 11 million and politicians pushing open borders and amnesty.
13. Political leaders: Corruption, incompetence and deception at all levels.
14. Radical Islam and terrorism: Exploding in regions of the world with an increasingly vulnerable America dismantling militarily and docile politicians calling it a "peaceful religion".
15. Should we add illiteracy… crime… catastrophic fatherlessness... human trafficking... adultery... profane comedians...an ignorant and low information populace? How about the ongoing erosion of our religious freedoms and secularism taking over society? And last but not least, how about a Laodicean, apostate church compromising and lacking the courage to address the defining issues of our day with clarity and conviction while defining success in terms of happy sermons, attendance, offerings, number of staff, programs and square footage?
Do we see the "handwriting on the wall" that we are at an unprecedented tipping point? Are we aware that America is rapidly spiraling into a lawless culture similar to Germany of a generation ago?
My wife and her parents are German and they will tell you an educated and civilized nation moved from democracy to dictatorship and then demise in less than six years! A once-thriving nation can have its heritage and faith so decimated that history records it as a tragic collapse.
Our Only Hope for Turnaround is a Heaven-sent Awakening That May Require A Calamity to Jumpstart.
As long as things continue to run somewhat smoothly on the surface, we have an amazing ability to cope and carry-on, all the while making flimsy excuses for compromise and a comfortable "Christianity."
- "I don't like what's happening in America on so many issues but it's not really affecting me or my family."
- "I prefer they not schedule soccer games on Sunday morning but I guess we can live with it. As a family we try to make it to church at least twice a month unless we need to catch up on our rest."
- "I wish our pastor would address these critical issues but his role model is Joel Osteen so he avoids controversy."
- "I grew up with Sunday school, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services but times have changed and I guess we can get by with a brief Sunday service."
- "Our worship leader is gay, I think, and the primary singer is living with her boyfriend but it's probably best not to stir up problems."
- "I wish our church gave out voter guides so we knew where candidates stand but since we're in a building program, leadership said they don't want to jeopardize fundraising."
- "Our pastors tell us they don't put out any lawn signs for candidates or speak about anything political because of separation of church and state."
- "We got the evite for the citywide gathering to pray for transformation in
- our city but it's the same night of 'Dancing With the Stars' finale and we just can't miss it."
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Rev.3:15-17).
8 Potential Disasters to Awaken Us?
Will it take another stock market crash, severe financial recession or, God forbid, global economic collapse to get our attention?
Might it take a series of beheadings and coordinated Islamic terrorist attacks in malls and cities by ISIS supporters slipping through unprotected borders to wake us up?
Would a massive power outage shutting down computers and canceling NFL games nationwide strike fear into the hearts of citizens and sober us to the urgency of the hour?
How about an airborne Ebola virus outbreak and the "pestilences and diseases" (Mt.24:7) Jesus predicted at the end of the age? Maybe a mass migration of infected Central Americans streaming through our porous Southern border?
Perhaps the beginning of war in the Middle East as Jerusalem is surrounded by enemies (Lk.21:20) and Iran launches the "bomb" on Israel causing catastrophic disruption in the Straits of Hormuz (where 20% of the total world's gas supply passes)? Recall the long gas lines of 1973?
Friends and family "handed over to be persecuted and put to death...hated by all nations because of Me"(Mt. 24:9)? Imagine us saying what a Chinese pastor, Huang Yizi, said this week upon being arrested in a government crackdown: "I am grateful to God for the opportunity to go to jail."
Perhaps the very real, dreaded, catastrophic EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack causing unimaginable devastation by paralyzing America as all power lines burn out and all goes dark instantly? USA Today stated: "Cities darken, food spoils and homes fall silent. Civilization collapses." Cause: One terrorist A-bomb or a severe solar storm.
Massive earthquake(s) as Jesus foretold (Mt. 24:7). Scientist Dr. Lucy Jones issued a dire warning on Oct. 15 to the L.A. City Council of the effects: "Infrastructure crippled; power grid and communications knocked out; water supply disrupted; 1800 fatalities, 53,000 injured and ½ the buildings unusable." [Note: This is not the inevitable "Big One" set for San Francisco.]
Awakening From Spiritual Coma
After the disaster of 9/11, people flocked to church buildings, prayer meetings mushroomed and streets were lined with marquees calling for God's blessing on America. We got our wake up call and people were motivated to seek the living God as atheists and the ACLU were silenced.
Unfortunately, we hit the snooze button and fell back asleep. African pastors gathering in D.C. stated it this way just a week ago: "America is in a spiritual coma!"
Providentially, the same week over 100 churches gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in our Nation's Capital to cry out to God for one thing - spiritual awakening in the United States of America.
In the time of Esther, things looked bleak and God's people were very discouraged at the prospect of a national disaster. But through prayer, fasting, seeking God and Spirit-led action, God intervened to save the day. "Who knows if you've come into the Kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) was spoken over one believer. As the clock is ticking, can you hear God issuing you and me the same challenge?