Beauty in the Thorns of Struggle
Many Christians lean on 2 Chronicles 7:14 as God’s promise to heal America IF Christians will only humble themselves, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways. I used to lean on that verse, too, but after closer study of context and applying interpretive principles, I no longer believe it is a promise for America, or Germany, or Australia, or Great Britain, or ...2 Chr 7:14 is a promise for a specific time, place, and people - ancient Israel.
It’s not my purpose here to prove my conclusion – just to suggest we might be losing out on something far greater by focusing on this verse. I understand the allure of the verse. Don’t we all want God to heal America? It’s a clear formula - If we DO “this”, then God has to do “that.” It seems we’ve found a guarantee ... to get what WE think best.
As New Testament children we have been given awesome, almost unbelievable, access and promises concerning prayer.1 John 5:14-15 says we have the confidence God hears and answers our prayer and in John 14:13 -14 Jesus says we have anything we ask. Well, there is a “thorny” condition –according to His will (1 John 5:14) and in My Name (John 14:13).In fact, I would suggest these pesky conditions are the very heart of prayer. They are invitations to deep personal relationship with our Father – a personal relationship not found in the Old Testament but bought for us by Jesus’ blood.
The evening before His crucifixion, Jesus included “nevertheless not my will but Thine” in His prayer in the garden after first asking the Father to take the cup of suffering away if possible. This was a sincere expression of His trust in and to walk in the Father’s decision. Jesus was struggling, but to Him, the Father’s will and way was best. Jesus fully embraced the Father's will "for the Joy set before Him" Heb 12:2.
Where is "according to your will" or "in Jesus' name" in 2 Chr 7:14? It seems to me the struggle in 2 Chr 7:14 is more a struggle with ourselves - have we done our part - rather than in struggling with the Father to discern His will. We lose out in not struggling with our abba, daddy, for it is here we find the crucible of conformed minds and wills.
2 Chr 7:14 is a beautiful Old Testament picture of God’s lovingkindness and mercy that still exceeds our guilt all the way to the New Testament. The formula of 2 Chr 7:14 has been replaced with something greater – the struggle of personal relationship. It’s here we grow confident faith.