Beauty Out of Ashes

By Diane Howard, Ph.D.

We began to see a revival in media, especially in movies, with the Passion of the Christ in 2004 and then with a growing Renaissance and Reformation of content and artistry in redemptive, faith-based movies for theaters and home use. Today, we are seeing many answers to our prayers about other local to international issues. In the seismic, paradigm shifts in media, entertainment, churches, education, governments, health, evangelism, missions and much more, we are seeing our Lord purify and bring about good and reformation even from evil, dangerous, compromising situations in new, innovative, unexpected ways. Patterns of evil are repeated throughout history, but they are overcome in unexpected but recurring patterns of revival. God and His goodness always prevail and win in the end.

My international perspective on what is happening with growing spiritual revivals around the world is based on depth and breadth of knowledge of history, scriptural studies, and personal experience as I have lived all over the world, starting with life in China and then leaving with my mother on the last boat out of Shanghai during the communist revolution. I also lived through the 60’s and the Jesus Revolution in our country, at which time I became a committed Christian receiving Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord (along with my husband, as well as Mike Huckabee, Greg Laurie, Hank Erwin, Jerry Wiles and many who are national and international Christian leaders today).

I then lived all over the world with my military chaplain husband as the Soviet Union and communism fell, including the Berlin Wall. I am thankful to see history repeating itself in positive ways. I have been sharing and compiling evidence of how evil implodes on itself over time and that spiritual awakenings recur. Commonly when there are times of turbulence but there is gathering prayer and seeking our Lord, revivals emerge but often in unexpected ways and places with unexpected people. We see this pattern throughout the scriptures. We can look forward to Renewals, Redemption, Reformation, and Resurrection prevailing, when His people humble themselves, pray, seek Him, and turn from their wicked ways.

Today as we are seeing seismic shifts in our culture and world (media, governments, industries, education, and much more), we are also seeing, as we have throughout history, that our God is a purifier. He makes all things new. When we stray from Him, He seeks to bring us back. When we seek Him in prayer, He answers our prayers.

God does not work in our little boxes, expectations, paradigms. He is a God of ironies and paradoxes. He uses unexpected, even flawed people in unexpected ways. Revivals today are taking place in various ways and places: Iran, Brazil; Army bases; outdoor stadiums, beaches, media streaming, in church parking lots, on streets where riots have been and much more.

God’s ways not our ways. Isaiah 55:8 says, ”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…

As structures, systems as we have known them (in governments, churches, education, and other industries) fall apart, God can purify and renew them according to His principles and ways as His people seek Him in prayer, are renewed within, and energized by His spirit to rebuild according to His will.

It is critical to understand that people must be renewed and redeemed first from within and then they are able to apply God’s Biblical principles to improve relationships, systems, structures, and organizations from personal to international. Fortunately, many redemptive, faith-based movies show this reality. Those movies based on true events especially verify this truth.

My own years of quantitative and qualitative, doctoral research based on the whole body of research on internal locus of control, along with my own significant unique research provides evidence that those with internal locus of control (sense of responsibility, accountability and more) are more productive than those with external locus of control (sense of being controlled by factors outside themselves).

We must first seek our Lord for His redemption, restoration, renewal, and revival. Then we must keep moving forward positively in faith and prayer, even when commonly there is criticism and persecution. It is and will be an eternal blessing to see Good overcome Evil. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth is transformed and the mountains are toppled into the depths of the seas, though their waters roar and foam and the mountains quake in the surge (Psalm 46).  Our God works all things for Good. He brings beauty out of ashes. He has prepared each one of us for what He has ahead for us. We need to stay steady in Him, in prayer, and keep our eyes on Him! He is answering our prayers! He is renewing, restoring, and reviving us!