He chose another passage that surprised me at first, but then went on to generate much thinking on my part.
Right before I arrived at the chuch, I received a Tweet from Crossway Books. I just glanced at it, not really grasping hold of the words, just giving it my “Hmm, that’s interesting” moment of thought.
But when I entered the church (about 10 minutes into the sermon), my mind instantly flew back to that tweet. You see, Matt had chosen to preach on–to speak to–the storms that we face in this very long short life. The tweet was simply this:
“Is a storm raging? Jesus walks on it. Jesus commands it. Jesus rests in it.”
These things can not be made up, that I would receive this tweet, only to find Matt speaking about the very same thing.
So where does revival fit into the truth that we all experience storms; that we all experience hurricanes that knock our feet right out from under us?
Revival is life-giving, life-restoring. When in the midst of a storm, there is often something that dies within a person. The things that die, that are vital to a believer’s life are: Joy. Faith. Trust. Strength. Endurance. Other such things. They die, and in their place grows kudzu-like weeds of: Bitterness. Cynicalness. Weakness. Doubts. Fear. Untruths.
To put it another way, in the midst of a tumulturous storm, it is possible that the things that we want to cultivate in our lives can sometimes start to wither and die, and instead ugly, hateful things grow in their place–and these things are hard to dig out. ‘The soul dies to sume degree in the midst of a storm. I know this fact very well. I have lived this fact and in some ways continue to live this fact.
Yet look at what that tweet says—Jesus walks on the storm. He Commands it to be still. He even rests in the midst of the raging storm. Matt put it well tonight: Jesus knows about the storm, but he also knows what is on the other side. Whew.
So I believe revival plays a tremendous role in the storms that we all face. Because as our soul dies a little (or a lot!) during a storm, God grants revival when we obey Him, when we repent and plead with Him: He removes that which is soul killing (bitterness, cynicalness, etc.) and replaces it with what we need to gain true life again in our souls–Joy. Peace, Trust, and so much more.
That is revival operating on the heart of stone during the midst of a raging storm. And my God knows what is on the other side.
O how I long to get to that other side. And be revived in the midst of this frightening storm. Am I going to trust Him? Am I going to rest, knowing that this storm will not drown me? Are you? Are we as a church going to trust Him?
These are hard questions; they must be deliberately and intentionally examined and asked of both our own personal soul’s and also of our collective souls as a church body.