On this enormously pivotal day in the history of the United States, I have a million things I should be doing that really have nothing to do with elections, politics, or anything pertaining to the current climate in our country. They, instead, have everything to do with running our lives and this household in a way that is efficient and right for my family. But here I sit.
I awoke at 3:00 a.m. on this election Tuesday, and at first, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was awake. Usually, when I wake up in the early morning hours, there’s stuff going on in our personal lives, and I know I just need to pray. Today, there was nothing truly personal, and yet, the state of our nation is hugely personal to me although I don’t always recognize that. And my heart is heavy with where we find ourselves at this moment.
Division . . .
Anger . . .
Heartbreak . . .
Pain . . .
Fear . . .
Have we ever been at this crossroads before? We’ve had vastly important elections. We’ve had moments in our nation that rocked our history and forever changed our landscape, but this exact crossroads? No, probably not this exact one.
And so, I prayed. I posted on my personal social media accounts that I prayed for healing, redemption, and mercy in our land. But the condensed version would be, I prayed, not so much about the election, but for revival.
This morning, as I sat drinking my coffee and praying a bit more, I decided to consult the good old Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the exact definition of revival:
Definition of revival
“1: an act or instance of reviving: the state of being revived: such as
a: renewed attention to or interest in something
b: a new presentation or publication of something old
c (1): a period of renewed religious interest (2): an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings
2: restoration of force, validity, or effect (as to a contract)”
As I read these definitions, I realized that our definitions of revival are very much influenced by our culture. Quite honestly, I think that even in the church we’re confused as to what revival really is. It’s not a serious of meetings, and there’s nothing wrong with meetings, but meetings do not a revival make. Nor is it just an over the top, outward emotional response where nothing changes inwardly. Revival certainly has emotions that accompany it . . . God gave us emotions so don’t get your feathers ruffled, but again, emotions also do not a revival make. And anything that is solely emotionally driven is not sustainable because emotions are fickle and ever-changing.
So I took a minute to read the definition of the word revive (again, many thanks to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary):
Definition of revive
“to return to consciousness or life : become active or flourishing again
1: to restore to consciousness or life
2: to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state : bring back
3: to renew in the mind or memory”
“Restore to . . . life . . . “
“Bring back . . . “
“Renew in the mind . . . “
“Become active or flourishing again . . . “
I’ve seen too many outward emotional responses that didn’t have the inward transformation. But when I read those words to “become active or flourishing again . . .”, those are the very definition of revival. Revival can start within the four walls of the church. It can also start at your kitchen table or on your living room sofa. It can start at 3:00 a.m. when you find yourself unable to sleep. But it’s not just a loud, outward change. It’s personal. It’s intimate. It’s an internal transformation of the heart that leads to outward evidence of change. It’s seen in our demeanor. It’s heard in our words. It’s witnessed in our actions. It’s obvious in our attitudes. It’s evident in our day to day life because as much as we want to complicate it or create something big and showy in it (because human nature loves a show), it’s simply in repentance (changing the direction you’re going) and letting the Holy Spirit do a work in us. It’s the act of bringing back to life that which is dead.
Evangelist “Gipsy” Smith (thusly named because he was of Roma ethnicity like my beautiful daughter . . . and this was the name he went by so no need to comment on that . . . but I digress) famously said, “Do you really want to see revival begin? Then go back to your home and draw a circle around you on the floor. Then get down on your knees in the middle of the circle and ask God to convert everybody inside that circle. When you do that, and God answers, you are experiencing the start of revival.”
No matter what this day, this year, or the next four years hold, our hope lies not in any political candidate. Yes, we all have feelings about how we want this day to go, but our hope, our foundation is found in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Because no matter what happens, He is still Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is still on the throne, and if we truly want change, in our hearts, in our homes, in our communities, and in our nation, it starts with us turning our lives fully over to Him. It starts with submission to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. And that holds more power and more sway than any election ever will.
“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
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