Jesus understood men’s hearts and knew that we forget God in times of prosperity.
Christ knew that in times of distress and calamity, people are forced to face eternity. Suffering, fear and hard times ripen people for hearing and receiving the gospel. Consider the context of His words: “When he saw the multitudes . . . because they fainted . . . then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous” (Matthew 9:36–37, italics mine).
This truth has been demonstrated throughout the history of God’s people. Moses reprimanded his generation, saying, “God led you. He increased your numbers. And He greatly blessed you, giving you green fields, honey, butter, milk, sheep, oil, fruit. But you grew rich and rebelled. You lightly esteemed the Rock of your salvation, and forsook Him.”
“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat . . . thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation” (Deuteronomy 32:15).
Scripture tells us Israel was brought low after this. Yet, in their distress, they called upon the Lord, and He delivered them: “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses” (Psalm 107:6, italics mine).
Consider also David’s testimony: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears” (Psalm 18:4–6, italics mine).
Trouble, distress and perplexity have always birthed a cry for help. This has been the pattern throughout the centuries. You remember what happened after the Twin Towers in New York fell: churches were packed! Prayer meetings were held in Yankee Stadium. Congressional leaders gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, praying, and singing “God Bless America.”
For a season, God was the talk of the nation. Fear and distress had made people think about finding truth. And that sums up the law of the harvest: THE DARKER THE DAYS, THE WHITER THE HARVEST.