“I Heard a War Cry Rising from the Ashes of Grief”
Nate Johnston, Redding, CA
7th December 2021
Recently, I was in worship one day at home when I heard a mighty war cry. When I looked (in the spirit) to see where this cry came from, I saw a valley filled with smoke and ash. As I looked closer, I saw that it was coming from people who were broken and had been counted as dead or spiritually asleep. They were the ones who had been taken out in 2020 and 2021, and were in the throes and cycles of grief, unable to shake it and break out.
It looked as if they had been dismantled, deconstructed, and demolished, like a building. They were laying in the ash; the smoke from the battle was still in the air…yet something had MAJORLY shifted inside of them.
By all appearances, they were out of the game and finished. Then, suddenly, this war cry began to erupt from them! This happened almost involuntarily, shocking and taking them by surprise, and also those around them. I knew, in that moment, that even Hell itself was been bewildered at this sight, because these people had been well and truly sent to the grave…but God had other plans.
The Cry of Grief Broken
Then I heard these words beginning to form within this war cry: “IT’S BROKEN! IT’S OVER! IT’S ENDED!”
“What has broken?” I thought. Then I discerned the spirit of grief in the air. It was anguish from a season of extreme loss, on the absolute deepest of levels. Then I began to hear the silent pain, doubts and fears of those who were on the ground, like whispers of torment and inescapable sorrow; like I was being shown the condition of those who died in this season. They had felt hopeless, defeated, severely disappointed and faithless. But I witnessed it – the turning. The silent screams of pain cast into the wind suddenly turned into a war cry of prophetic decrees and fresh hope!
Then, in this place of severe loss, the most unimaginable thing started taking place: bitter waters became rivers, and grief became a laughter that started small, then couldn’t be stopped! It was like a tap had been turned on inside of these people that hadn’t been turned in a very long time. Joy flooded out of them, eclipsing and overtaking every single place of pain.
The Cry of Justice
I felt it deeply; this was a cry of OVERDUE JUSTICE for every single place where prayers had been intercepted and promises delayed. This was the cry initiated by Heaven to settle the score. This was mourning being turned into ‘dancing upon injustice.’ This was unfathomable restoration. This was an impossible comeback, the likes of which are described in Isaiah 42:22: “But this is a people plundered and looted; they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become plunder with none to rescue, spoil with none to say, ‘Restore!'” (Isaiah 42:22).
But they are rising up, and in their war cry is a shout that cannot be shut down. It’s the shout of a people who are standing up and commanding that restitution and restoration must take place! This war cry is shaking earthly systems and worldly empires that have sided with the enemy. It may look like the enemy has won, but the enemy has forgotten Who reigns on the highest throne and Who gets the last laugh.
Even right now I hear the Lord say, “Scales and balances are Mine, and there is nothing I will overlook and there is nothing I will not repay in both evil and in good!”
This war cry is the marker of the beginning of seeing things shift in unexpected places, as the once-fallen people of God stand up and raise their voices, declaring JUSTICE and RESTORATION.
This Is the New Sound
When I first heard this sound, I instantly wanted to get on my face in the Lord’s presence because I could feel Him so near; I could feel His holiness. It was like I was wrapped in the fear of the Lord, and my heart instantly felt like it was being purged of apathy, defeat, failure, shame and hope deferred.
I got on my knees in my kitchen knowing this was a holy moment I was witnessing, but couldn’t understand what was going on, or why it felt this way. Then, again, I saw the same vision I saw earlier with people in the valley covered in ash. Only this time, I saw Jesus walking through the field with the train of His robe behind Him. As He walked, these fallen ones were being made complete and whole.
This wrecked me. I understood now…this was a fresh sound that came from encountering Jesus. The worst of situations and the bleakest of circumstances were no match for Him. This is the new sound. It’s the sound of YAH in our lungs. It’s the sound of intercession. It’s the deep, pent-up cry of the lovers of God seeing Him face to face. It’s the sound of personal revival. It’s the deep heart change…stones becoming flesh and bones coming back to life. It’s the sound of an army standing to her feet after a season of utter defeat. It’s the sound of our victorious King making Himself known to His people and then through them – to the world.
The Cry of Birth
So let me end this by speaking to those who have been in the valley of defeat: The King is here. Now comes the fresh cry – it’s about to burst forth from inside of you!
To those who have lost their voices in this season: your wells are being uncapped again. To the ones who’ve lost their sound, their laughter, their shout and their victory roar: you are coming back with a fresh cry and a fresh song.
This will be your rebirth. Just as a baby endures the pressing and movement and then finally breathes its first breath; just as the mother walks through 9 months of uncomfortable preparation and finally births the miracle – so too will this moment be for you after all you have walked through.
The fresh cry is the sound of LIFE entering where you have only seen barrenness and unending sorrow. The fresh cry will be your sign that morning has come and mourning is leaving you. You will feel the shift and it will come out in your song. LIFE is about to come out of your mouth to counteract the noise.
So let the new battle cry come forth from you now! Let the season of victory and payback begin in Jesus name!
Nate Johnston is a prophetic voice and worshiper who has a heart to see sons and daughters unleashed into passionate friendship with God and an effective supernatural lifestyle. Through his ministry school “Everyday Revivalists,” he leads people from the basics of the Gospel through to being sent and released into their mission field, as well as championing and raising up emerging prophetic voices around the world. His burning cry and desire is to see the Body of Christ become a beacon for the lost by raising up a generation that walks in the love and power of God, representing Him well. Nate and his wife Christy have three daughters, Charlotte, Sophie, and Ava and live in Redding California.