THE DARKEST HOUR IS JUST BEFORE DAWN
Several times in our nation’s history, it seemed as if all hope was gone.
First time occured in the 1730’s. The American Colonists were a mixed collection of nationalities with no central government or unity. Values and morality were on a decline. Drunkenness, swearing, immorality, and every form of godlessness were rampant. In one small Massachusetts town of Northampton, things were no different. Young people were roaming the streets at night, hanging out in taverns, and indulging in immoral activities. All of a sudden, two well-known youths in the community died. The people were shocked. Many began to question the meaning of life and death. Members of one small church began praying for their neighbors. The pastor, Jonathan Edwards, started a series of messages on justification by faith and six young people were converted. Among them was a young girl who had a bad reputation. The news of her salvation spread like wildfire! In the next six months 300 of the total population of 1,100 were converted. Revival fires began to spread to other parts of the nation through the preaching of George Whitefield. As a result, hope was restored and our nation was saved from disaster.
The Second instance was in 1790. The nation was in transition as people were moving west. Morality and spirituality were on a decline again. God’s people began to pray and a series of revivals broke out throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Georgia. According to some estimates, as many as one million people came to saving faith in Jesus Christ! Timothy Dwight, President of Yale and grandson of Jonathan Edwards, gave a series of lectures on why the Bible is the Word of God and revival broke out among the students. Similar awakenings took place on the campus of Princeton and Dartmouth. God used a man named Charles Finney to carry the movement into the first half of the nineteenth century. Our
nation was safe once again.
The year 1857 marked the third time. Morale had once again reached an all time low. A man named Jeremiah Lanphier was burdened for New York City. He felt that God was leading him to start a prayer meeting. He set the time for the noon of September 23, 1857. No one came for the first half an hour. Then about 12:30 men began to come one by one. In all, six individuals gathered to pray. Week by week the crowd began to grow. The next month the stock market crashed and people realized that only God could save our nation. As many as 10,000 men were gathering daily for prayer in six months. Some estimate that 500,000 people came to know Christ through this revival. Even during the civil war, reports of revival were heard among the troops. God saved our nation
Our nation is facing some very dark times again. Just like those in the past, we have to feel in our core that only God has the solution to our predicament. It is time we obey Hosea 10:12, “For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Could it be that the best days for our nation are ahead? The darkest hour is just before dawn.