Blaise Pascal said that God has given us enough evidence of Himself to draw us to seek Him, and yet has withheld enough of Himself to free us to resist Him. That is true. The reason for this is so that we will choose to seek Him, so that our relationship with Him will be one of freedom and love, not coercion and fear. We choose every day whether or not to focus on the Invisible Real or to give ourselves to the ordinary stuff of our five sense controlled world.
But God is so moved to love us that He will sometimes make Himself unavoidably present. That kind of expression of God’s care goes on all the time all over the world in localized personal encounters. But on a larger scale, in what we historically have come to call revival, such an invasion of Good transforms not only individuals but entire cultures. The great tangible unavoidable force of the Real Presence transforms people which transforms everything else.
The coming of the power of God on this scale is not random. There are specific precursors to an outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the dry cracked ground of a dying culture. One such precursor is desperation. And such desperation is awakened when our godlessness begins to show its fruit. So we are in the process of being given a mercy. We are being shown our true need. And it is not political or social. We are being shaken awake to our deep sinful cancerous condition on every level of our cultural and personal existence. We are being weaned off of our ‘ordinary.’ We are being prepared as broken soil. Hardened soil cannot receive water. It just rolls off. The fallow ground must be softened in order to receive any rain. It is not a revival we need, if we think of revival as a mere spiritual awakening. But it is a full supernatural awakening to Realty: a transformation of atmospheres.
We need the veil between the visible and the invisible to grow thin until our shallow misdiagnosis of every day life becomes not merely unviable but unbearable, until we become overwhelmed with the true nature of things. We need the awareness that every day, babies are being slaughtered and their body parts sold to feed the Moloch machine. We need to see that we also feed that same machine with a thousand and one misuses of our income and energies. We need to become so fully awake to this that we cannot bear it. We need to be awakened to the reality of child sex trafficking, and black on black crime, and ongoing pockets of white supremist hatred. And I could go on listing other atrocities we all have become shamefully numb to. Think what it says about us that I could even write such things?
But way beyond even that, we need to be awakened that we are without GOD. We do not have GOD with us, either as a nation, nor as a church, nor even as individuals. He has withdrawn, and the great proof of His absence is that we do not even know when He left. We have just carried on as ‘normal’, ever readjusting to defining deviancy downward. And godless, powerless, church stuff has become our routine now. You know I understand Jesus lives in us and that He will never leave us and that we are secure in Him. I could write on and on about that. But I don’t want to. Because I am not interested in mere falsely comforting platitudes, even Scriptural ones. We are godless as a nation, and in many painful ways, as a Church. Since the Church is made up of individuals, what does that say of each of us then as individuals?
I do not say this to shame or blame, but to awaken to a grand invitation. And to be awake means to be fully present to it, and not to hazily acknowledge it as a vague fact. Like a person who becomes fully aware of the poisonous snake in his path is awake. THAT kind of awake! This is right in front of me, and I am in danger! We have so quenched the Holy Spirit and grieved Him so, that He has withdrawn His power. Not His promise, but His manifest Presence. I know a lot of people. And I cannot name very many who are not facing terrible battles in their families. I am way beyond offering common solutions like counseling (with all due respect to good counseling) or the many other remedies of the past that once did help. They are now like a band-aid on a shot gun blast. We must awake to righteousness! (see 1 Corinthians 15:34.) It is becoming truly awake that will cause us to see. It is truly seeing that will cause us to cry out for Him. It is crying out for Him that will crescendo within and through us till it becomes our holy obsession.
Judgment does not begin with Black Lives Matter or Antifa or the Democrat Party or the Republican Party or the Muslims or the LGBT. Do we want them judged so we can go on living a nice religious shallow American existence without the Real God? OR are we willing for God to show us our true condition and deep need for Him? Judgment must begin with us, the House of God, not the unbelievers. Pascal’s description of how God normally deals with us is true. But times throughout history have come, when a greater manifest Presence must break through a scab of godless comfortableness. And it is not shame that motivates us to cry out, but HUNGER. It is an awakening HUNGER, that increases until we cry inside and out, “I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOUR HOLY PRESENCE!”
I think many of you are becoming not merely hungry for revival, but overwhelmed inside with a desperate growing agony, that unless God Himself comes, unless His manifest Presence ignites a holy fire that burns up the dross in and around us and paves the way for His glory, that you fear you cannot go on. Do you seem to be at the end of dealing with you? Maybe it is not just you, but the infection all around you. May we all be enlarged in our spirits to draw the circle of our concerns bigger. We need to look up and out of ourselves to Another. How desperate are you? Join with me in unified prayer: Lord, have mercy! Lord, rend the heavens and COME DOWN…