“Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,” says the Lord; “and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,” says the Lord, “and work; for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:4
“Yet now be strong.” Through Zerubbabel and Joshua, the leaders of Israel, God said these words to His people. And today, just as in the past, it’s a time to be strong in our faith and have great confidence in our God—He is alive and well and doing amazing things.
How do we maintain or increase our strength in these days? Paul said to the church in Ephesus, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10), but what does that look like practically? We remain committed to the Word of God, for that is how our inner man is developed. We need to spend time in God’s Word personally, meditating on it, and collectively, by come together to study it. It is also through prayer, as we commune with the Lord, spending time in His presence, that we are empowered. And as we gather for times of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and worship Him together, our faith is built up.
Be Strong and Work
But then the prophets said to them, “Be strong … and work.” It’s time for work. If we have a pessimistic view about the future, it’s going to weaken our hands. If we feel that nothing’s going to change, that it’s just going from bad to worse, that’s not going to help us. Jesus said in His own day, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). We could say the same thing; God is at work, and we as God’s people are also to be at work—and there’s plenty to do.
The Job of the Church
So what is the job of the church, so to speak? We know we are to pray individually, but part of the church’s job description is to pray as well. Through our prayers, things happen and change in the world. Do we realize that? At times, the very course of history has been changed through prayer. The direction of nations has been changed through prayer. The course of a family can be changed through prayer; a personal life can be radically altered through prayer. And this is the work that we do as God’s people. Nobody else has this right or privilege. Nobody else has the responsibility that we have as the church to pray; this is what we do as God’s people.
For the past two years, our team in England has been ministering to Livvy, a local girl from Wadebridge in Cornwall where Creation Fest is held every summer. Last autumn, she stumbled drunk into the CF offices. It was a low point for a member of the team, who saw the ongoing, endless heartache of walking slowly with people toward life. Some days, that journey feels like a sliding slope of downhill decisions. Alcohol, abuse, and an utter lack of aspiration leave many trapped in cycles of destruction.
God is At Work Today
On the Sunday of Creation Fest, an invitation was given for young men and women to stand for Jesus. Livvy stood. Because team members were scarce, no one prayed with her, which meant that Sarah Yardley and another member of the team had the privilege to pray backstage with her, buy her her first Bible, and “weep tears of utter joy at watching one we had prayed over for so long step from darkness into light.”
God is alive, He is real, and He is at work today. I want to be on board for what He’s doing in my life personally and with His church all around the world. Don’t you? So let’s be engaged in the work of God in the days ahead.