“My face is flushed from weeping, And deep darkness is on my eyelids,”
There are many members within the body of Christ who yearns for revival. For the dormant and the stagnant to come alive once more. For the incarnation of the gifts of the Spirit. Many are the ones who have been praying and are praying for this to happen here in Saskatoon and all over the world. In many places it is happening, throughout history there has been many revivals, reforms and reconciliatory movements within the body of Christ.
Jer 50:4 – 5 ”In those days and at that time,” declares the LORD, “the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek. 5“They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.…
If we look back at the revivals of our history we can quickly identify some common patterns, even though every revival has it’s own “personality’.
Often, before revival becomes reality, there is a period of waiting in expectation. Of living with the tension of the the true legacy we must not forget while at the same time opening our hearts for the growth God wants to bring. It is often a dry, desolate and lonely place, like the desert.
In the desert, we get rid of everything that is not absolutely essential for survival. We get exposed to the light and that brings new insight into who we are and what we are made of. We observe things about ourselves that we did not see before. In the desert, the springs of water are not obvious, we must dig deep in places we sometimes do not want to go, to find
life giving water. Food and drink is scarce and so we must discipline ourselves to not live on bread alone. Our stay in the desert will eventually bring either complete trust in Gods provision and the revelation that we can not survive or find our way out of there, in our own strength. Or, it will bring our destruction if we persist in relying on our own perceived power. Food and water will eventually run out. The desert is a good place to be because at least it is real. There is no room for faking it, politics and obsolete debates. It is the place where we find out the truth about who we are.
Psalm 126:6 “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them”.
When we reach the place of complete honesty, when we see the truth about ourselves and the state we are in, we are often brought to tears. When we see the depth of our sin in comparison to the plan that God intended for our life and all of creation, we cry.
Psalm 80:5 “You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful”.
The tears of repentance cleanses the eye so that it sees ourselves and creation as it was created to be. Tears is a sign of that God has been visiting. It is the “other side” of our baptism, containing the same water. “Tears made their way down my cheeks and I felt the presence of God so real as if I had seen Him”, testified Lewi Pethrus, the founder of the Scandinavian Pentecostal movement about his spiritual baptism on the boat to America from Norway in 1902. St Symeon the new Theologian writes about his overwhelming spiritual experiences in Constantinople in the 10th Century: “When someone lifts their gaze and sees all of creation in a way that he has not seen before, he is filled with wonder and falls into tears, without any external pressure and free from angst. The tears cleanses him in a second baptism”.
God brings forth tears into our desert heart landscape to bring new life, revival. The tears waters and softens the soil of the hardened heart. Tears makes it able to once again receive and nurture the mustard seed of the Kingdom of heaven. The hardened heart does not consists so much of intentional evil as of the loss of the ability of wonder and awe, the ability to cry.
When we embrace this gift of tears in truth, the sorrow we feel about our sin turns into joy. The tears of repentance and the tears of joy are the same, they spring from the same well. How we can go from sorrow to joy, with the same tears testifies about God’s transformative power when we open ourselves up to hear His Truth.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and so for Him to bring new life, revival, into His Church we must be honest and true about ourselves. How do we know when we are being truthful? Often by the sign of tears. The well of tears bursts forth from a dry crusted landscape, when we have exhausted all other options, when we are at the end of our rope. When we acknowledge in truth that our predicament is to great for us to bear.
The seeds of revival, of resurrected life, of the Heavenly Kingdom are grown with the tears of repentance and joy. Tears cleanses the eye from debris and clarifies our vision for creation. Tears purifies our bodies and gives a sense of relief. Tears is the sign of the broken heart and our hearts need to be broken for the Light of Heaven to shine through the cracks.
If you are praying for revival, for new life, then I encourage you to be honest and truthful with yourself. Repent from and confess the things that keeps you from the life you were intended for. With the words of St Seraphim of Sarov: “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.”
Revival is the regenerated life of God, sustained by the Holy Spirit. We can not demand His presence or schedule His movements. All we can do is to offer a broken heart for Him to heal.
Matthew 5: 1 – 10
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.