We are often too rational for our own good, not willing to believe in the seemingly impossible because, well, after all, it seems to be impossible. But are some of the things we’re afraid to dream about any more unlikely than the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States?
In the morning prayer service the day of the inauguration, evangelical leader James Robison said after addressing Trump, “We believe, dear God, that the stage is set for the next great spiritual awakening, and I believe with all my heart it is absolutely essential.”
Yes, of course, an awakening “is absolutely essential” to our nation, but are we really supposed to believe that “the stage is set for the next great spiritual awakening”? Are we really supposed to believe that the moral and climate of our nation can be changed? Absolutely.
History tells us it is possible and the unlikely events we’re witnessing before our eyes remind us that anything is possible.
From the perspective of history, if you’ll study past awakenings, you’ll see that they all came after a season of steep spiritual decline, often leading to hopelessness, with many feeling as if “things will only go downhill from here.”
But if God awakened us before, He can do it again and, from the perspective of current events, is it really any harder to believe that God can send another great awakening than it is to believe that a man like Donald Trump could become our president?
Just think about it.
Let’s say I asked you this two years ago: Which is more likely to occur? There will be a spiritual awakening in America or Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination, defeating senators and governors along the way, and then will defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election, getting 81 percent of the white evangelical vote. What would your answer have been? Which would have seemed more likely?
Let’s take it one step further. What if I asked you two years ago, which is more likely to occur?
There will be a spiritual awakening in America or Donald Trump will become the darling of the pro-life movement, nominating a solid pro-life conservative to replace Antonin Scalia within two weeks in office?
Certainly a spiritual awakening would have seemed far more believable than what has happened already with President Trump. What stops us, then, from believing for the former if the latter is happening before our eyes?
In an interview in the Star-Telegram, Robison said, “I do believe if [Trump] remains wise — as preposterous as this might sound to some — … he can prove to be as great a president as this nation has ever had.”
For some, this does sound preposterous, but is it any more preposterous that these words came from the mouth of Robison?
After all, during the primaries, Robison had very strong reservations about Trump, urging Dr. Ben Carson not to endorse him. In fact, Robison shared on my radio show that to the very last moment, even as Carson was on stage, about to endorse Trump, the two were talking by phone, with Robison urging him not to give his endorsement.
Ironically, Carson gave his endorsement on the condition that Trump would meet privately with Robison, which he did, for 90 minutes. Afterwards, Robison joked to Trump that it was “the longest you’ve been quiet in your entire life.”
Who would have thought that this staunch opponent of Trump would have become of one of his most trusted spiritual advisors?
John Zmirak, a conservative Catholic columnist who holds a Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University and is a senior editor of The Stream, told me that when he was a student at Yale, his professors uniformly praised communism, making clear that it was communism, not capitalism, that was the key to the world’s future success. They were quite confident that this socialist system was here to stay, with its sphere of influence growing by the decade.
Who would have imagined how dramatically and quickly it would collapse around the globe? And, Zmirak asked, who would have believed that the principal players who would help topple communism would be a former Hollywood actor (Reagan!), a female Prime Minister in England, the daughter of a lay preacher and grocer (Thatcher!), a shipyard worker who became the head of a Polish trade union (Walesa!) and a Polish pope (John Paul II!).
Today, it is a wealthy, former playboy, real estate tycoon and reality TV star who is shaking up the political scene and exposing the biases of the mainstream media.
If this, then, is actually happening, why is it so hard to imagine that God will send a massive spiritual awakening to our nation?