Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

May-June 1948

Beloved of God,

I cannot let this issue of the paper go out without some reference being made to the present world situation. That the situation is critical and ominous needs no argument; perhaps it never was more so. No one can contemplate the real possibilities without being deeply moved. When, already, a sample has been seen in the wiping out of tens of thousands of people in a split second, the wholesale delivery of these destructive forces over an extended period, apart from all the other forms of destruction and neutralisation, is something hardly to be contemplated. Truly, reality is given to the words "Except those days be shortened, there shall no flesh be saved."

But this is not our only or supreme outlook. We are compelled to ask the question as to whether such a state of things can actually come about before the Lord comes to remove those made ready for His appearing? Amongst the spiritually sensitive there is a sense of pause as behind the earth scene. It is as though something were pending. Much work is being done, and we are seeking to carry on or "occupy," but we are aware that there is a need of a moving from heaven, and we know that unless God does move in some epochal way, some dispensational way, frustration triumphs. The outlook for the Lord's work in the nations is increasingly - in measure and speed - very unpromising and forbidding. The powers of evil are pressing upon this earth in thickening and intensified darkness, maliciousness, and death. The Church is conscious of bafflement, smothering, and inadequacy. Honestly, it is unable to meet the world-situation and overcome. If the Lord is coming, what a lot of problems will be solved and questions answered!

But surely such a prospect calls for two lines of prayer, and this is the main object of this letter. Wherever the Lord's people are able to gather in smaller or larger companies, there ought to be strong corporate prayer that,

(1) the work needing to be done both within the Church and through her unto His appearing shall be intensified and perfected; and

(2) the restraining work of God shall be exercised in and over the nations until the above is accomplished. Satan is always trying to precipitate things, for he is the spirit of lawlessness, causing a wild running amok.

This is not the place for speaking in any fulness of the real nature of the situation and what lies behind it, but we do appeal to all the Lord's people to remember that there is the side of our responsibility as well as that of His sovereignty. It will be too late to pray preventively when the storm has broken upon the world, and the means of grace for spiritual help might well be suspended. One thing all true Christians know is that there will never be a better world until the Lord comes. So let us prepare for His coming, and pray both for it and unto it.

With love and greetings in Him,

Yours in that Blessed Hope,


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