[This is part 3 of a series on Revival. See here for Part1
I’ve been contemplating this for hours and I am not sure I’m ready to draw a conclusion but at some point I would like to go to sleep also. [its 3 in the morning…]
Any given recess in elementary school was like winning the lottery. It was also a very stressful moment. We had fifteen minutes (20 after lunch if you devoured your food quickly) to pack in everything that would do away with the social studies, earth science, or writing workbook you just finished learning. With limited resources on the playground we were always trying to create some new game or experience; something would bring a new thrill or “a moment.”
Age has a way of changing things but we often spend vast amounts of time meandering through recesses trying to create new thrills. And just the nature of this world tends to offer thrills that do not live up. It is harder to get real excited about things because there is always some corner to turn. Life offers corners but more often I find I turn a few corners on my own. A few decisions that were improper leaving longstanding effects. A few misconceptions about what is really happening. A couple of noble decisions that do not live up to the plan and recess is gone its time to go back into class.
Revival keeps us (or grabs us) out of the funk that life has for us. We were in a corporate gathering last evening and there was a moment where something happened. There was a group of disciples who made the decision to write (no long drawn out stories) simple sentences or just words about who they are. They put them on poster board and stood before the church . A few of those I specifically knew some of the background and the tension they would have by standing before people and being so open about who they are.
The remainder of the people in the pews observed the flaws and sins on the poster boards. And then they observed them turn the boards over to unveil the reality of who they belong to, the reality of redemption and forgiveness, the reality of belonging to the only one who revives the restless soul.
And this is where I began to see something different. I think that what I saw in that moment is people pouring their lives before others and I saw a whole lot of people in the pews saying “I am guilty too.” I think I saw people turn their poster boards over to show who they belong to know and people in the pews receiving their burdens and celebrating what God has done. What I want to believe is what i saw is within this congregation of people was a lot of people who are the church. I believe inside this facility I saw the church.
There are few things that set my heart ablaze these days. Too many things I’ve seen and done in my past some I’m still working through. Last night was an incredible reminder and a boost of hope.
When people can bear their failures and losses before the rest of God’s people and the entire group of people can look at each other in all our vulnerability and say “You are ok. You’re His now and you’re ok.” What you are observing is the church. And this may be my personal bias because I swing way over in the corporate side or the fact that I long to see Jesus more each day than living. But it is my belief if you are going to have revival at some point you have to see the church.
I certainly believe that personal revival is necessary and relevant. But what does God comfort us with that he does not teach us to comfort others with the same comfort we receive from God? What Gospel does the Spirit point us to but the one that says “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” and again “WE are His possession?” Revival is a quickening and reminder to look and recognize that a revived “you” are still not able to be a “city on a hill” by yourself.
Last night was a boost of hope for me. A “keep moving Shef,” when internally I struggle finding some sense of purpose in areas of my life where I feel so inept, and broken, and contributing to the problem and not the solution.
I saw the church say “Here are my wounds”
I saw the church respond “Amen. We will bear them together because Christ has already paid for them.”
Those are the moments where I am overcome with an inexpressible joy and a clear perspective that only God’s grace enabling power, that is His very presence, makes us able to love anyone in a manner that is beneficial for them. This is not a given. We are just too flawed to be useful in a persons life on our own. And some times you can have all the intent of being a blessing to someone and you feel like nothing you are doing is right.
Revival through seeing the church sustains you, gives you perseverance, and reminds you that it is possible to be a blessing to someone’s life. And those are the kinds of things that fulfills the commands and God is most glorified by.
Revival comes when something is precious. Revival occurs when you can stair through the storm to the Son. Revival is available when you can see the church. All of our thrill-seeking recesses are washed away and we rest in awe of God.