Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Desperation or Devastation, or Death

I was just reading an article in Revive magazine that included a quote from a Ugandan pastor who spoke of the powerful revival of the church there through the tragic days of Idi Amin and afterwards.  He said,
In Uganda we experienced a nationwide revival as a result of severe persecution.  The suffering of the people was beyond description, and no one came to our rescue.
But God used the opportunity to wake a nation from its spiritual coma.  What we learned is that revival will come either through devastation or desperation.  So my question is simply this: what are you doing in America to make sure revival comes through desperation and not devastation?
I think that the question is profound, but I also know that there is no promise to us in America that revival will come.  Just as churches that were vibrant throughout the middle east in the early centuries of Christian mission are now only a memory or a shadow of what they were, so it may be here.  Perhaps we will become desperate at our lack of spiritual life and in humility seek God.  Or perhaps we will not, and God will send devastation that will awaken us from our spiritual stupor.  But I fear he may allow us, even in times of devastation to wring our hands but not rend our hearts, and the church here may go the way of many others in history have gone--while in new places it arises and grows in the Spirit's power.  I pray not.  But then, our only strategy comes back to this: we must cultivate desperation within our hearts and our church; desperation for God's Spirit to come in power to convict and comfort, to enlist and empower, to heal and to help.