Late Tuesday night, a friend of Tony Suarez's text him with the news that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's bid for a second term had failed. He was stunned with the news.
A pastor and the Chief Operating Officer of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Suarez had prophesied in September 2022 that Lightfoot, the first openly gay person to lead the city, would not serve a second term. Lightfoot lost her Democratic primary for the mayor's office Tuesday to Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, who will meet in a runoff in April for the position.
When he received the text, he went straight to the Chicago Tribune's website to affirm what Darryl Hooper had told him.
"My first reaction, and I don't want it to sound too gimmicky, was 'thank God,'" Suarez said in an exclusive interview with Charisma News. "I wasn't even sure when the elections were and had even thought about it.
"Last fall when we were in Iowa, and it was spontaneous ... the state of Illinois just rose in my spirit. God spoke to me and said 'I'm sending revival to that state.' I was born in Villa Park, a suburb of Chicago, and I had never prophesied about Chicago before. It was amazing."
In this video taken at the Opening the Heavens in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in September 2022, Suarez prophesied: "I declare Holy Ghost revival and to the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago. Lori Lightfoot, pack your bags. God is removing you from office."
A few weeks later at the Cleveland Tennessee Outpouring, Suarez prophesied, "The spirit of corruption will be broken in Illinois and Illinois won't be known for corruption. Illinois will be known for Holy Ghost revival. I prophesy that God is going to remove the mayor of the city of Chicago and God is going to send revival to that city one more time."
The first black woman to be elected as mayor of Chicago, Lightfoot lasted only one term. She is the first elected Chicago mayor to lose a reelection bid since 1983. In 2019, the AP reported, she made promises to end decades of corruption and backroom dealing at city hall.
Four of the last seven governors in Illinois have gone to prison for one crime or another.
The Associated Press also reported that "opponents blamed Lightfoot for an increase in in crime that occurred in cities across the U.S. during the pandemic and criticized her as being a divisive, overly contentious leader."
In a time when many—including some in the church—have become cynical and overtly critical about the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy, Suarez says he doesn't, by any means, bring attention to himself. Rather, he says, believers need to celebrate when any prophecy that benefits the kingdom of God comes to pass.
"I don't ever want to draw attention to myself, it has to be the Lord," Suarez says. "It's important that people know that this word was fulfilled. I feel like it was prudent that we share this because the prophetic is under such attack. When a word comes to pass, we must highlight it because the gits of the Spirit are for today and so another generation can see just that."
Suarez says it's especially gratifying to him because his children, 17 and 15, were on the stage that night in Council Bluffs and heard the prophecy.
"My children say, 'yeah Dad, I remember being in that service.' Our kids today are flooded with social media, with negative media," Suarez said. "Prophecies gone wrong, church scandals, anything I would label sensationalism. It hurts their faith and it causes them to question if any prophecy is real. When miracles take place or prophecy comes to pass, they're not given the same attention as all of these negative things.
"Even daily Christian journalists like RNS (Religion News Service), the Christian Post or even Christianity Today, all they write about it seems like is the negative stuff. If it was a scandal, they're on it. If it's prophecy or a miracle, it's met with cynicism and doubt and there has to be an angle. I wasn't going to post the video because of the attack the prophetic is under, but I also felt like it has to be an example of when prophecy is fulfilled."
Suarez says that he is elated at the recent revival that have happened around the nation, including the Asbury Revival and the ensuing outpourings including places like Lee University, Samford University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and even in high schools in Corpus Christi.
"We can't push the responsibility of revival until tomorrow," Suarez says. "But we've been saying this for three years. It isn't that revival is coming. Revival is already here and it has been for three years."
But, he says, this is no time for the body of Christ to "get sloppy." We must carry on as the Holy Spirit directs us.
"In the past you can see that sensationalism and sloppiness killed the faith and the passion," Suarez says. "This current revival that is happening, I believe it will continue until Jesus comes. But we need to learn certain practices, and we need to be careful about a timestamp on when things comes to pass. It's in God's timing, and we're all learning. Instead of saying, 'Thus sayeth the Lord,' maybe you can say, 'this is what I feel.' You can't retract 'thus sayeth the Lord."
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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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