Humble Yourselves and Pray
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. (2 Chron. 7:14-15)
I love God's promises and His heart towards us. Central to the Christian message is the theme that God loves His creation. He loves all of humanity, every individual, every race, every country. Christianity is unique compared to any other religion in that God decided to reach towards humanity and pursue them in a heart of love. We're not a people bound by rules of worship and proscribed ritual in order to please or appease God. We're a people of grace. We didn't earn the love of God by our behaviour and we didn't deserve Him to come to us with love and relationship, but He did anyways. He came to us with the heart of a good Father, not the heart of a tyrant demanding tribute.
Because God is a good Father, He responds to us, His children, as such. When we screw up and are in a big mess, He gives us a provision of how to be restored back to health and right relationship. That provision is shown in the scripture above. If we humble ourselves, turn away from the bad things that we're doing, and pray, we'll be forgiven and given healing. God doesn't hold our past over us indefinitely. He doesn't remind us how much we screw up. He empowers us to live healthy, righteous lives that are filled with blessing.
You see, it was sin, it was rebelling against God in the first place that caused our world to be subjected to evil. Evil takes many forms. Sometimes it's people treating each other terribly, sometimes it's famine or cataclysmic events, and sometimes it is sickness, infirmity, and death. Evil is the ultimate effect when people rebel against God. We were created good, created for blessing, increase, and fruitfulness, but we instead chose our own way. We chose to operate outside of the purpose that we were created for, and so we turned our nature into one that propagates evil.
When we recognize how we have turned away from God and respond with humility and a heart's desire to change, God responds and meets us in that attitude of humility. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) What's really unique is that this individual repentance and humble heart affects our entire nation. When people in relationship with God affirm this process, God promises to "heal their land". The effect of humility extends far outwards from that individual to bring healing to those around them and to counteract the presence of evil that is coming against the land.
I don't know what you think about this, but when I look around me, I see a land that needs healing. We have a pandemic that is destroying lives and has gripped our nation with fear. We have injustice, we have people hurting each other, we have broken relationships, we have broken people. Our land needs healing.
So what are we doing about that? Is the church rising up to humble themselves and pray? Are the people of the church repenting of their sins and bad attitudes? Are we interceding for the land that we love and live in? Are we praying for this plague to be eradicated and praying for those affected by it or are we instead putting our heads down, ignoring the pain and suffering around us, and just hoping we'll get through unscathed? Do we have enough compassion to pursue God's agenda of healing and restoration or will we stay self-centered and not see God's healing sweep across the land?
I've lived too much of my life in pride, unwilling to come to God in humility and pray. My land needs healing and I have a promise from God that He will do just that if I come to Him on my knees. It's time for the church to take its rightful place… a place of humility, of repentance, and of prayer.