In case you haven’t heard about it, there is currently a revival going on at Asbury University in Kentucky. For several days now, there has been a steady stream of people entering the university chapel to pray and worship God. It all started when a chapel service ended, and nobody left.
That building has now been occupied with worshippers, sometimes a full house, for over a week. Why does this matter?
If nothing else, it demonstrates that God is at work in the world!
At a deeper level, it shows us that the human race has not been forsaken by the Lord.
Among the most socially impactful revivals were the Great Awakenings in New England in the 18th century, sparked in large part by the faithful biblical preaching of Jonathan Edwards.
Even a cursory study of history will show that periodically over time, in various places in the world, movements of the Holy Spirit have taken place that have had an impact on society. Perhaps you remember the Toronto Blessing from the 1990s as an example of this.
A dear friend and colleague and I drove to Toronto one snowy Sunday night to witness this movement. Seated with some seminary professors in the back row, we took it all in. People were laughing, people were doing “carpet time” (as it was called), being slain in the Spirit. It was vastly different from what my service that morning had looked like!
But in all honesty, as one with the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits, I was not alarmed.
While it might not have been “my thing”, I found it difficult to doubt that God was at work in the midst of that.
Revivals are great. Everybody likes a show. What really matters, though, is the fruit that is borne from it. As my friend, John G. Stackhouse, Jr., wrote recently, the revival at Asbury will have been a remarkable work of God if there is some seed of growing discipleship demonstrated among the people affected by it.
Should we pray for revival in our hearts, our homes, our churches, our nations? Undoubtedly, yes! And as we do, let’s likewise pray for the desired result of revival: changed hearts and lives. Otherwise, we will have enjoyed the sizzle, but not feasted on the steak.
God is still active in our world. He has not forsaken us, the pinnacle of his creation. Let’s pray that many, many people are directed to follow Jesus with greater devotion as a result of revival.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15.5, NLT).