Responding to Seismic Events
Seismologists look at different parts of the world in terms of seismic hazard or, in other words, they assess the risk that an earthquake event will take place. These hazards relate to the underlying structure of the earth’s tectonic plates and they compile evidence on the frequency and nature of these events. Using this data scientists and engineers can plan and prepare how to respond if and when an event takes place. There are some places in the world that display much higher risks of activity than others.
At the spiritual level, God has made a plan that the Gospel should be carried to all nations (people groups) and to the ends of the earth before the return of Jesus. His vision is clear and the Holy Spirit is working out his plan according to his perfect, but to us unfathomable, will. There is the sense of the progressive, inevitable outworking of his grace that is seeing his Kingdom grow through the world’s people and nations towards its ultimate fulfilment.
However, when we look through Christian history we can see that there are also certain times and places when God brings to this world particular touches of his grace.
These sovereign moves of God are, in effect, seismic events, or earthquakes, that change the spiritual landscape and take God’s Kingdom forward.
Often they can occur from what to us may appear the darkest of places.
Iran is significant as a location with high levels of seismic activity. Likewise, Iran is currently a place of high spiritual ‘seismic activity’. This has been apparent with the house churches, where more people have come to Christ since Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution than in the previous thirteen centuries. It is estimated that over one million Iranians have come to Christ during this time.
If you look at the current geopolitical issues in the world one crucial area is the Middle East, and in particular the situation of Iran with Israel and the West over the development of a nuclear weapons capability. However this issue develops, it has the potential to be a significant ‘seismic event’ to affect world affairs. Perhaps a question to ask ourselves is whether this is one of those moments that God uses to change the spiritual landscape? I believe it could be.
It is crucial that we persevere in the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel and press on into new ‘fields’, that is the “unreached” and “unengaged people groups” working out the full extent of the Great Commission that Jesus has given to us.
At the same time we also need to be mindful of the move and rhythm of God’s Holy Spirit in his sovereign choice of times and places.
The challenge is that we move forward as those who hold on to God’s big vision, understand his intent, and respond as the sons of Issachar, “men who had understanding of the times”.
Written by Lazarus Yeghnazar