At our men’s small group this past week, we were going around the room taking prayer requests. My prayer was a sincere request for God to start a revival in my heart. I had been feeling a little lacking in passion and faith. It wasn’t long after I prayed that prayer that I started to come up against some challenges in my life. My wife and I started fighting, things at work got hectic, and a bunch of little things went wrong all at one time. It seemed like everything that I thought I had under control was beginning to unravel to the point where I had no control.
I was laying in bed one night while all this was going on. I had just begun to dose off when I was abruptly awakened, and I felt strongly impressed to grab my phone and capture the following:
“Isn’t it funny that every time you ask me to change something in your heart, I start messing up your plans?”
This did not fully register with me right away. Then a few days later, things got so out of control that I had to step away and go for a drive. I stopped somewhere and put my car in park, and I just sat there for a few minutes. I was angry, frustrated, and on the verge of tears. I prayed in an angry tone and asked, “Where are you!? I can’t do this anymore. I am out of ideas. I cannot handle this on my own. I cannot fix these problems I am facing at the moment. I feel like giving up! I need you. Where are you!?” Right after I said those words out loud, I felt just a little bit of the weight lift from my shoulders. As if it was God saying, “Now you are getting it.”
God was giving me exactly what I had prayed for. He was allowing me to experience enough pain to humble me, so that I could stop trying to control my world by my own power and strength. He wanted me to make some room and let Him in. I was getting to a place, even in my Christian walk, where it was becoming more about my own knowledge and abilities than it was about Him. God love us too much to allow that to happen to us.
Just as we have to be humbled to submit our lives to God initially, we have to be humbled time and again to continue submitting our lives to Him. Let’s face it, in the world we live in its easy to buy into the idea of it being all about us. We have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and remember that it is all about Him. It is not about how great we are. That is when revival starts in our lives. Revival begins with humility.
I heard a preacher this past week give just a raw, good news gospel message. In that message, he referred to everyone in audience as “wretched, black-hearted sinners.” To be honest, it was so refreshing to be reminded of that! It was great to stop and reflect on who I am without Jesus, and to be reminded of just how much I need Him in my life. Yes we are all sinners, but we are all saved because of His unending mercy and grace. The more we understand that, the more truly humble we are. The more humble we are, the more we love and trust God and the more we unconditionally love others. These are the two things at the heart of any revival!
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.