If you have ever lived in an arid or semi-arid climate, you know how precious water is. Or maybe you don’t! What I mean by that remark is that in some of the drier regions of our country, fountains, water parks, and green golf courses seem to abound. But such use of a seeming abundance of water is, to a great degree, made possible by the preservation of the water they do have. When the rains come, a system of waterways and reservoirs retain water for future use.
Revival can be much like that rain. It doesn’t happen all the time. Revival is not a continuous state, as much as some people like to claim it is. Revival is a season of refreshing, an outpouring of God’s Spirit that has a fairly definite beginning and end. The results of revival don’t have to be temporary, though. The aftereffects of revival can actually be more powerful than the effects experienced in the revival itself! I’ll have to write more on that dynamic in a later post. The point I’m emphasizing, though, is that there must be some reservoir for the aftereffects to be available post revival. Fortunately, we don’t have to fret over what the reservoir might be, or try to come up with an elaborate scheme for revival benefit preservation.
God’s simple plan for preserving the benefits of revival is this:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
I love 2 Chronicles 7:14. I believe it’s powerful in its promise. It gives me hope for the healing of an entire nation. But it’s not enough. Preachers have proclaimed 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a promise from God that if only the church in America would do what it says, then America would be healed. But that’s not true.
In the Spring of 1996, before revival hit the church I pastor, we began recruiting men to attend our first Promise Keepers event, to take place in Washington, D.C. We had about 25 guys sign up–a great size group for the size of our church at the time. Then, revival came to Victory Church, and not everybody was happy about it. We actually lost fifty of our one hundred official members (even as we gained more than that back in new members). It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. There was lots of excitement about what God was doing. Every morning I would wake up excited and ask, “God, what are you going to do today?” But it was also relationally painful to endure severed relationships. I blamed myself for a lot of the trouble, but God wanted me to see that it wasn’t all on my shoulders.
During the tumult, someone asked me: “How many men who signed up for Promise Keepers are not going because of the revival?” The Holy Spirit must have led that man to ask that, because the answer provided a shocking revelation to me: NOT A SINGLE MAN WHO HAD SIGNED UP FOR PROMISE KEEPERS WAS AMONG THE GROUP THAT LEFT BECAUSE OF REVIVAL. I know, I shouldn’t shout in print, but what are the chances of that? Miniscule!