During a prayer meeting in December, 2016 following the election, I had a mental vision of four sticks or poles standing upright, with the fourth one beginning to bend. I asked the Lord what it meant, and He told me, "You, the church, have four years in which to shine." I understood the bend in the fourth stick or pole to mean that in the fourth year things would begin to change, and not for the better. He then added, "You, the church, have lost the art of the tremble." In other words, while so many of us have been rightly focusing on the Father's heart, His amazing love and grace, we have forgotten that He is also the sovereign King of the Universe, lawgiver and judge. We have so lost the ability to be so awestruck by Him that we no longer carry a healthy measure of fear along with the comfort of love.
We, the body of Christ, have been granted a four-year window in which to become a lighthouse of love, grace, redemption and the manifestation of the Father's heart in Jesus—four years in which to recover the "art of the tremble." Whatever one might think of Donald Trump as president, it seems clear that he is a friend both of the church and of Israel. This creates a window of opportunity to grow and to expand our influence in the world around us.
Where Donald Trump is concerned, I find myself possibly running afoul of the words of others in prophetic ministry who have prophesied that Trump will be, in effect, the savior of the nation, a Cyrus after the biblical model, to pour out favor, restoration and release. Some have said he will be the most praying president in our history. Perhaps. Let that be true. But there's a serious problem that calls for concerted prayer for the president on the part of all those who hold to biblical values. It has been said that Donald Trump is a new Christian, and I have no reason to doubt that. For every new Christian, however, there remains a season for being discipled in the ways of the Lord, and therein lies my concern.
I therefore have a prophetic word to release in the tradition of the "if-then" we see in the words of the prophets of the Old Testament. For its fulfillment, this word turns on whether or not Donald Trump understands and walks in the wisdom of a set of essential Scriptural admonitions. Proverbs 16:7 teaches, "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." Perhaps more significant is Proverbs 12:18, "There is one who speaks rashly like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health," or 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger," and the verse that follows, "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness." Words must be crafted in such a way that people are enabled to hear and receive them. From the New Testament: "But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:19). All of these principles apply most strongly to anyone in a power position where the impact of words spoken will be magnified.
Simply stated, if Donald Trump can understand these principles and walk in them, then he can win the appreciation and cooperation, even of his enemies, and will stand a good chance of advancing his agenda for the nation. In that case, prophecies of greatness spoken over him will come to pass, and the whole world will benefit. On the other hand, if he continues to insult those who oppose him, to retaliate in anger and call them derogatory names, then even those who would be his friends in Congress and in the world will increasingly turn against him. Very little will be accomplished. If that happens, then the latter half of the fourth year of this four-year window—coinciding with the next presidential election cycle—will see a bending. Donald Trump will not be reelected, and the radical left will see a resurgence of strength in a backlash that will do much to destroy what is left of our nation and its heritage of liberty and Christian faith.
Of the four years concerning which the Lord has spoken to me, nearly a year has already passed and we, as a nation, are mired even more deeply in conflict and hatred than we were a year ago. We have a limited time in which to pray over these matters and to clean up our own act as believers where our hearts and our language are concerned. We must recover "the art of the tremble" and refocus on holiness, not of the legalistic kind, but on being transformed into the image of the Son by means of a pure focus on Him and a passion for seeing the kingdom of God manifest on earth in a culture of love, grace and uplift.
Pray for the heart of our president, for the nature of Jesus to take root in his life, and that it will manifest in his words and relationships. The future depends on it.
R. Loren Sandford is an author, musician and the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. He has a bachelor's degree in music and a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. In addition to pastoring, Sandford has an international teaching and worship ministry. Married since 1972, he and his wife, Beth, have two daughters and one son. They live in Denver, Colorado.
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