What do you say to someone when they are going paralyzed?
This was the question on my mind as I sat there with Carleton. The nurses were walking by in the hall. The machines he was plugged in to were buzzing and humming. And here I was, on a pastoral visit to see him in the emergency room, watching him writhe from pain in his legs. Nothing I had been taught in seminary had prepared me for a moment like this.
Before I could even think of something to say, Carleton continued talking…
“But you know what we really need,” he said…”WE NEED A REVIVAL!”
My eyes grew wide at what he was saying. I couldn’t have agreed with him more.
“I’ve seen it at our church,” Carleton continued. “I remember one day it was like I could feel a wave of conviction going through the congregation. You could see people being convicted of their sin by the word that was preached. This is what we need in our land right now. We need to pray!”
Here was a man, in intense pain in the emergency room, but instead of asking for prayer for his physical body, he wanted to pray for revival.
So we prayed! We prayed for the word of the Lord to go forth and conviction of sin to spread! We poured out our hearts to the Lord with the faith that he would hear us in heaven and answer us here on earth!
I ended up walking away from the hospital that day feeling like Carleton had encouraged me more than I had encouraged him. I was so blessed by his perspective that even when he was in personal pain, he still saw the spiritual needs of others first.
His words echoed in my ears, “WE NEED A REVIVAL!”
We all believe in hospitals. We see the need for physical care. We respect doctors and nurses for all of the training they go through and their intention to do good. We think we should spare no expense to extend someone’s physical life so they can go home to their loved ones.
But do we see people as souls? Do we see their need for spiritual care? Do we see people as eternal beings who will continue to live even after this life is over?
There is something we need more than the hospital.
It is a revival in our soul. It is a life that renews us in relationship with God. It is a quality of eternal life that will continue with God even after we die.
When Jesus walked the earth, he cared for those who were sick. But Jesus also saw people as souls:
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages,
teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom
and healing every disease and every affliction.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them,
because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
“Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest
to send out laborers into his harvest.” ~Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus says we need more workers in the important field of soul care.
1st thing Jesus tells us to do is pray. God alone can raise up the men and women and young people who will spread the revival. They must first know the revival of Jesus in their own soul before they can share it with others. We need to pray earnestly that God will put the need for revival on more of our hearts.
2nd thing we can do is be one of the “laborers” Jesus is talking about. This means we will need to learn how to talk to people about the state of their soul. We will need to have conversations with people who enter into a relationship with Jesus and experience salvation. We will need to talk with those who already know Jesus about revival, where they are stirred up in their souls. How will we spread the revival to others if it does not start in our own hearts?
These are the two goals of this blog. #1 is to inspire you to pray for revival more than ever before. #2 is to equip and encourage you to have spiritual conversations with the people God has put in your life. There are people you know who still need to be saved through repentance and faith in the gospel. There are people you know who are saved, who need to be stirred up to grow in their own souls and spread the revival to others!
For many of us, our life will begin and end in a hospital. But what is the quality of that life in our soul? Do we really know God? Have we been able to do the work of sharing the life of God in our hearts with others? This is the question of revival, a question that needs to be answered in our time. A question that needs to be answered with the urgency of the emergency room.
Just ask my friend Carleton.
*Please pray for Carleton’s physical body. He had surgery on his spine and is now staying at a rehab center where they are working with him to stand on his own strength and to walk again. Please also join him in praying for a revival in our land.