Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from Stephen E. Strang's God, Trump and COVID-19, which is now available to purchase. Click here to learn more.
"I see a plague coming on the world and the bars, church, and government shut down. The plague will hit New York City and shake it like it has never been shaken. The plague is going to force prayerless believers into radical prayer, into their Bibles and repentance will be the cry from true men of God in the pulpit. And out of it will come a third Great Awakening that will sweep America and the world."
This 1986 prophecy by late Christian leader and author David Wilkerson describes perfectly what we now call the COVID-19 pandemic. How could he have known, and how might this current crisis spark a Third Great Awakening? Is it possible God is up to something? I believe Donald Trump has shown great leadership in this crisis—but what does this mean for the 2020 election?
When I finished God, Trump, and the 2020 Election in October 2019, there was no way of knowing that a pandemic was coming. COVID-19 had not yet been discovered. And no one anticipated the global crisis that was poised to strike. China tried to cover it up for several months and even arrested the doctors who sounded the alarm. Then the crowds of visitors for Chinese New Year took the virus back home until the pandemic spread around the world. At that time, no one could have fathomed how this would develop into a 9/11-level event that will most likely forever change the way we conduct business and trade, interact socially, and so much more.
Yet back in December—before people all over China began falling sick with pneumonia-like symptoms, before people around the world grew alarmed about a disease, and before the coronavirus reached new shores after being carried onto planes by human hosts, forcing the WHO to declare a global emergency—eight whistleblowers were already discussing how several patients in Wuhan were experiencing severe, rapid breakdowns in their respiratory systems.
These whistleblowers were part of a medical school's alumni group on WeChat, a popular social network in China, and they were concerned that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had returned. If not SARS, perhaps the threat came from something similar of unknown origin.
It wasn't long before Chinese police detained these eight doctors and medical technicians. Authorities said they were "misinforming" the public, that there was no SARS, that the information was obviously wrong, and that everyone in the city must remain calm. On the first day of 2020, Wuhan police said they had "taken legal measures'' against the eight individuals who had "spread rumors.'' We will dig into this in more detail later on.
God, Trump, and the 2020 Election documents how Donald Trump stood up to the radical Left, supported traditional values such as life for the unborn, and in many ways exposed the evil by the entrenched bureaucracy we now call the Deep State. The Democrats and their allies in the press also opposed him at every turn, including the two-year Mueller investigation, which showed no wrongdoing, and even tried to impeach him. Meanwhile the economy was booming, and the president was making America great again by actually keeping his promises to strengthen the economy, cut onerous regulations that stifle business, and look out for the little guy. Now, because of a virtual shutdown of the country due to the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, everything has changed.
Renowned economist Stephen Moore originally felt bullish on how the economy would "roar back" after the Coronavirus Task Force implemented its initial "15 days to slow the spread" nationwide. But as the shutdown was extended to 45 days, Moore and other economic experts, such as Mark Skauson, began to sound the alarm about long-term devastation that might result if both small businesses and large corporations were limited to operating in a virtual environment. The same would be true if nonessential retailers were forced to rely strictly on online sales. One thing is certain: the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything in the economy.
But one thing that hasn't changed is Donald Trump is a leader, and at this point in American history we need a real leader who can get private enterprise and government—and even the Democrats—to work together to take us through this crisis and find a vaccine for this deadly virus. Remember how feckless Jimmy Carter was with the Iran hostage situation, and even the way George W. Bush didn't seem to know how to crush al Qaeda after 9/11.
In contrast, Trump quickly closed travel from China and later from Europe even though liberals accused him of overreacting and being xenophobic. In fact, both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden publicly said they would have left the borders open. Others went so far as to label the president as "racist" once again for singling out China. The mainstream media, in sound bite after sound bite, mocked his decision to be cautious, labeling it as an "extreme measure."
But before long most countries were closing their borders, and the president's decisions not only proved right but may have been a determining factor as to why the United States did not see the kind of numbers of those infected with COVID-19 the original models were projecting. In fact, those numbers were lowered three times. And even the southern border was finally closed when officials realized the hordes of illegal immigrants who bring in various diseases could also be carrying the dreaded coronavirus.
God, Trump, and the 2020 Election contained an entire chapter on "Promises Made, Promises Kept." Here are a few of Trump's major accomplishments, many of which were detailed in that chapter, for which all Americans should be incredibly thankful:
- securing the borders and ports of entry
- being proactive in taking key precautions in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak despite criticism from the Left
- diversifying our supply chain and emphasizing to US companies the need to look to countries other than just China to fulfill our manufacturing needs
- renegotiating trade deals to level set and protect US financial interests
- deregulating key segments of the US manufacturing and farming sectors
If the president had not proactively done each of these things, we would be in a much worse situation than we are right now from both a health and an economic standpoint. The biased media rarely reports any of this.
Time will tell how all this plays out. The prophets have said America will bounce back more quickly than the naysayers predict. But we can be sure of three things: the pandemic is less extensive, the response is stronger, and we will get back to normal faster because we have a real leader in the White House.
It's as if we're in a war, different from but no less difficult than what England faced in World War II, when Winston Churchill (a leader many in England didn't like) became the instrument God used to rally the nation, help win the war, and save Western civilization from Nazism. Trump has described himself as a "wartime president," and his statement has proved true as he leads our battle with an unseen enemy.
Most Evangelicals believe our nation was founded on a love for God and reverence for His Word, and because of that we have experienced His undeserved favor upon our country. Even in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, God comforts, protects, and brings the truth to light, giving us hope and peace during periods of uncertainty, fear, and upset.
I've written extensively that I believe God raised up Donald Trump to help turn things around in America, and I believe in many ways he has done just that. I make the case that much of this has taken place because Trump is such a strong leader and because God seems to have His hand on this billionaire from Queens who won the presidency against all odds.
I believe Donald Trump is in the right place at the right time to lead the country through this unprecedented pandemic. Even though I finished writing God, Trump, and the 2020 Election months before we learned of the coronavirus, I believe the case I make for Donald Trump is still valid as the nation reels from the effects of this virus on both the health of individuals and the economy—indeed, on our very nation.
Something incredible happened in the White House only days before Easter this year. On Good Friday, President Donald Trump held a service in the Oval Office. I call it a service because the things he said were pointing people back to God in this tumultuous time. Once he was done speaking, he turned the service over to Bishop Harry R. Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, and presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches. Bishop Jackson is also an adviser to Trump and a good friend of mine. He took that time to pray for a blessing over our president and over our nation.
It was refreshing to see such a spiritual moment in the Oval Office. You can watch the event on YouTube. In a podcast I did with Bishop Jackson recently, he told me he was humbled to be up there with the president praying. He said Trump asked him at one point if he ever gets nervous praying and speaking in front of people. Bishop Jackson replied yes, to which Trump responded, "But you don't look nervous."
Bishop Jackson explained that he wasn't nervous about what people would think of him—he simply felt the weight of what his prayer could do to shift things in the spiritual realm.
"We as Christians believe that prayer changes things. We believe that although God's in control of everything ... He has given an opportunity for us to, in a sense, influence the future destiny of a nation, the destiny of our families."
Bishop Jackson told me, "So I was humbled by that. And I took comfort in knowing that God would give this man in the greatest office in the land, and Vice President [Mike] Pence-He would give them both wisdom."
Bishop Jackson believes prayer is especially vital right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging. A few weeks ago he received a revelation that prayer was going to impact the nation's destiny. He was reading in Numbers 16, where God sent a plague to the people of Israel because a group was rebelling against Moses and Aaron.
Moses knew the plague had occurred because of the people's rebellion, so he told Aaron to run and grab his censer—which Bishop Jackson said represents the prayers of the saints—and stand "between the dead and the living" (Num. 16:48).
When Aaron did that, God stopped the plague and showed mercy to Israel.
"Many national prophetic figures got that same Scripture," Bishop Jackson said. "Many of us have believed that God is going to mitigate the impact of the plague if the church prays. Ironically, from [April 10, Good] Friday at noon to Monday and Tuesday [April 14] at noon, all of a sudden we found the governor talking about the fact that everything had peaked in New York. And it seemed as though our Passover prayer—asking God to pass over, asking God to use our prayers to be like Aaron's incense, forming a line between the living and the dead—actually worked."
Bishop Jackson reiterated that it wasn't his prayer, or anyone's prayer specifically, that changed the tide of the coronavirus deaths. But rather it was God's mercy in response to His people's cries.
And more of God's mercy is certainly on its way. Bishop Jackson believes God is stirring up awakening in this season.
"I believe that we're going to see evangelism at its best manifest in this season," he says. 'Tm excited about it. And awakening is at the door, following the shaking, so that our confidence might not be in the arm of the flesh but in the Word of the living God."
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