Throughout history—even during Christmas—the church of Jesus Christ has cried out to God during times of persecution, decline, and internal strife.
Under the Roman Emperor Nero, Christians suffered immense persecution—being burned at the stake, crucified on crosses, and murdered in the Colosseum. They cried out, “Why, Lord?”
During the second through fifth centuries, the early church experienced intense internal strife because of false teachers bent on warping the message of Christ and his church. Leaders like Irenaeus, Athanasius, and Augustine all asked, “Why, Lord?”
More recently, Western churches are mourning their demise and praying for a restoration of the great times of the past. The world-wide church is asking the question the people of God have asked for millennium: “Why, Lord?”
The song of lament in Psalm 80 was a prayer the tribes of Judah offered up to God. This same song and prayer was probably on the lips of Jews living in Palestine under Roman occupation two thousand years ago.
They were in decline, in trouble, they hadn’t heard from God in nearly four centuries, and they were waiting for the Anointed One—the “Branch-Man, the Son of your love, the Son of Man who dwells at your right hand” (Ps. 80:17 TPT).
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
God promised this One would come to save them, rescue them, and put them back together again.
And guess what? He did!
Luke wrote, “The Son of Man has come to seek out and to give life to those who are lost” (Luke 19:10 TPT).
All the lost, not just lost Israel.
As the church looks around this Christmas season, we may feel like Israel felt: we’re in decline, we’re in trouble, our nation needs restoration. While we could pray this prayer along with Israel, the truth is God fulfilled their hearts’ cry—and ours!
The promised Branch-Man came in full glory and power to reveal God, rescue, revive, and restore us.
And because he did, nothing can ever stop us—not even the power of death will be able to overpower the church.
Advent Prayer of Hope
Commander of Angel-Armies, while things may seem hopeless for your people, remind us this Christmas season that your Branch-Man, the Son of your love and the One who dwells at your right hand, has come in full glory and power to reveal, rescue, revive, and restore!