Perhaps it was the tone with which the news reporter spoke that caught my attention: “this little church is making a huge impact.” While this declaration is true, little is indeed much when God is in it. Many Americans are asking, “Where was God?” when the lone gunman murdered 26 members of First Baptist Sutherland Springs, Texas, but God was there too. In fact, what was meant for evil, God will use for good in the coming days. This little church has a global stage this week from which the gospel message is being heard by millions of people.
From the moment I heard about this tragedy, I began praying that God would turn this tragedy into revival fires. Oswald Chambers so aptly stated: “there is no thrill for us in walking, yet it is the test for all of our steady and enduring qualities” – that is “to walk and not faint.” God wants integrity in our innermost being, and this is the focus that God has burned on my heart for Mobberly. Psalm 51:17 states: “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”
What would it mean for you in the next 2 months to be more fully alive in Christ than you are at this very moment? The early church father, Irenaeus, declared: “The glory of God to a human being is being fully alive.” When we are unhealthy in our physical, emotional, or spiritual lives, we look for thrills such as “soaring like an eagle” and yet the character of a person is found in a daily and consistent walk. Unfortunately, it takes shocking evils like the massacre at Sutherland Springs to cause us to focus on the challenge of simply walking.
As author, Francis Chan has noted, “Jesus didn’t command that we have a regular time with Him each day. Rather, He tells us to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’.” The apex of such a hunger will be intimate prayer and intense study of His Word whereby we move from a quiet time curtsy plagued by guilt, to a reverent communion ignited by holy pursuit. I am praying that God’s Word and God’s presence would stir the sentiment which the men on the road to Emmaus exclaimed: “Did not His words burn within us?”
While it is true that we cannot conjure up revival, I am unyieldingly convinced that if we desire to experience true spiritual renewal, then we must seek Him in such a way that we are positioned to receive the gushing torrent of God’s Spirit, should He send revival. Without a doubt, seeking a revival flood is the burning passion of each of us as dedicated Christians, but the primary goal is not in seeking a revival but rather the glory of the Reviver Himself!
But one may ask, “knowing the desperate times in which we live, why hasn’t He sent a national or global awakening?” I agree that first, most believers are not meeting the conditions in prayer and repentance; secondly, many believers are celebrating God’s benefits without hallowing His name, and finally, relational barriers of pride or legalism are blocking the Holy Spirit. To engage people in culture we must remember that holiness is separation from sin, not separation from sinners. Learning to hallow and revere the presence of our Holy God means praying for cleansing and transformation; repentance and turning.
For families: here’s a great Merge resource for talking to your kids about this tragedy.