God of Revival

Volume Twenty Six   —   View Song   —     —   Get the Free Devo App

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Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

Has your Christian life seemed to you, at times, unextraordinary? Do you read Scripture about men “who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Hebrews 11:33–35), and then sigh at your experience?


I do. The past, whether in Scripture or church history, seemed so momentous, so electric. I find myself looking back at different eras in the church, wishing to live then instead of now. There seemed to be something happening, something inbreaking, something at stake. Life was less certain. I did not cite above the next few verses in Hebrews, including those tortured, flogged, sawn in two (Hebrews 11:36–38). But even for these, as the fingers of time and persecutors pressed against the neck, immortal beings felt their mortality and wondered, at least as I imagine, more about the world to come.


When I look at past epochs, special epochs, I see the gospel shining forth; I see souls being saved. I read of the good news constraining the wickedness of nations and turning the world upside down. I read of major cities casting their idols into the fire, of conviction for sin shattering hearts by the thousands, and of many looking up from their snake-bitten condition to Christ and being healed. Homes were filled with heavenly conversation, and lives were lived with sobriety and joy before the Lord.


A World Not Needing God


The Lord appears, in my conception, to have been near to them. But we live now in a world of iPhones, freeways, and antibiotics.


We don’t throb for the inarticulate something; we are numbed by a buffet of endless entertainment. The breach between this world and the next doesn’t feel very thin; many diseases have been subdued by modern medication. The grave stands farther, so it seems. Loved ones are pulled through the door less unexpectedly. The question of what’s next holds a looser noose.


Where saints of old let down their gospel nets and caught men, women, and children to such a degree that the nets threatened to break, we catch Sunnies who end up back in the lake. Modern man doesn’t obey God, love God, or even consider God. The church shines, it feels too often, as a beacon in broad daylight, not as a lighthouse on darkened shores. When we mention the refuge from the wrath to come, we receive confused or scowling faces instead of penitent hearts. Ezekiel’s dry bones remain dry.

God of Yesterday, God of Today


Back then stood a church whose heart beat the drum of “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Then, Christianity was a revolutionary religion with a mission to extend the kingdom of Christ across the face of this world, marching up to the very gates of hell and proving victorious by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. They served a Christ concerning who says unapologetically, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).


The God of today often feels more sanitized, more domesticated, more sedentary. And thus, his people seem to lack convictions, lack adrenaline, lack the identity of strangers and sojourners. An exit remains. Too many stare as Lot’s wife did, looking back at the world longingly.


Perhaps this is all an errant assessment. Perhaps it reflects my insufficiencies more than anything. But one thing is clear: Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He has not changed. He can still do as he has done — and greater works even.


Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)


I have to remind myself that the God of yesterday is the God of today, and he is even more active today than in many previous generations. We have his Spirit dwelling in us. Old Testament saints would envy us — the living church of God. We have a great commission, a great God, and sure and spectacular promises at our disposal. Will we not believe that all things are possible? Oh may we have more faith, more prayer, and more expectation of our great God of revival.