I had an uncle who could walk 40 miles an hour. There’s no way around it. Every time he told us how far he had to walk to school it got longer and longer until, by his late 90’s, he was telling his great grandchildren it was 40 miles. And, he made it in an hour.
The same thing happens when some aging saints and revival historians recount past revivals. Each time they tell stories of past revivals, they become more amazing, more perfect, and better than anything we see today.
They mean well, but they do inadvertent harm. Revival suddenly looks impossible. Instead of inspiring people seek an outpouring, people say, “what’s the use?”
The Bible says of Jesus, “a smoking flax He will not quench.” Those words mean something inexpressively wonderful to those who seek revival: God will fan to flame even the most unpromising, smoldering ember.
Let me put it another way: When you asked for revival from a pure motive, God said “yes.” At that moment, God took you at your word and began the process. The thing is most revivals die between the YES and the next step. Because, what comes next is an act of obedience that offends the flesh.
Bill Johnson is a prime example of this. He asked for revival, but when God said yes, Bill obeyed the next step. When many people left Bethel Church in Redding, Bill kept obeying. When the outpouring was misunderstood, Bill simply kept obeying.
Here’s a classic case of a mighty move of God aborted: Before the revival began he promised the evangelist they would move out of their church building to a neutral site if the move of God outgrew the church.
Not only did it outgrow the hall, it was rising to touch the entire region. Stunning healings verified the word. Then the pastor balked at moving the meeting…the real motive for having the meeting was to save the church from financial crisis. It was over.
Revival is simple. Notice I didn’t say easy—I said simple. Big difference. You simply keep obeying in the face of every obstacle.
Simple obedience should not be confused with self-promoted revival. Nothing is more hollow than people trying to force a meeting to be something it is not. I know it sounds strange—given that fact that I am trying to impress upon you the availability of revival—but I think it better not to call it revival, no matter how good it is gets.
Better to have people everywhere coming and being set free and empowered and not call it anything than labeling it revival to convince people something is happening.
Revival is available. God gives good gifts to His children. It’s all about what you do after He says “yes.”