I’m sick of cold weather. This time of year trees should sprout and roses develop buds. But more than anything, I’m weary of the spiritual darkness that’s enveloping this nation. We desperately need a spiritual spring time. Just as surely as God makes the sap rise in the trees and the grass start to grow, he’s at work in his church.
For example, in the late 1600s a minister named Samuel preached, taught and prayed with diligence. Every ounce of his soul longed for revival and he brought that desire before the Lord each day. The people of his parish at Epworth, England made their living from farming and had little education. They despised his politics and failed to understand his preaching. His growing family stayed in debt, and his parishioners found ways to persecute him. At one point they burned his home to the ground, forcing the family to move in with neighbors. How discouraging!
The Lord did answer his prayer, but not the way he expected. His wife, Susanna, educated their children and occasionally the congregation. She taught and advocated order and method. When her son, John, went to Oxford, she wrote him long letters reminding him of his spiritual duties. Encouraged by her example, he and other students banded together. They committed to regular prayer, Bible study, and righteous living. He called the group The Holy Club. Fellow students ridiculed the young men and labeled them ‘Methodists.’ John adopted the name as a mark of respect. The Methodists emphasized the gospel and holy living, filling a void in the Anglican Church. Revival swept the nation as many English citizens came to Christ through the movement.
But that’s not all. Christianity started in the Roman Empire, but didn’t disappear when the empire dissolved. That’s because God softens hearts. Throughout history we see men he used like John Hus and the Moravians, Zwingli and the Anabaptists, John Knox and the Presbyterians. You might say these men lived in the past, and that’s correct. But in our time God raised up James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Greg Kokul of Stand to Reason, William Lane Craig of Reasonable Faith. Think for a moment, and you can probably call to mind more.
Just as the irises poke new leaves out of the dirt, God moves in every generation. Like Sam Wesley we may not see it, but he brings new life. Trust him and pray.
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