Despair and Hope
Scripture: Acts 2:17-21
Times are hard, and we all need Jesus to revive us. We live in a time of great cynicism, crass polarizations, and a lack of civil discourse that once characterized the American experiment. The Jesus Movement’s One Way hand sign—as in there’s but one way to Heaven, through faith in Christ—would be derided by some as offensive hate speech today, with Jesus People carted off to jail or to community service and sensitivity training workshops.
Still, let’s not get wigged out about culture wars or the increasing marginalization of biblical Christianity. This is a time of great opportunity. The upheaval actually combines an odd blend of cynicism and longing, ugliness and beauty, despair and hope.
Jesus looks upon our world and loves its people. His holy affection floods toward all, every tribe, nation, individual on this terrestrial ball . . . and He calls those who follow Him to be the visible manifestation of His love and His truth. That’s a challenge we cannot meet without humility, personal and corporate repentance, and the fresh wind and power of His Holy Spirit.
What would a new Jesus Revolution look like today? All we know is that it would be scary, exhilarating, messy, passionate, and surprising. We should not pray for revival unless we are ready to be turned upside down, our heads and our pockets and our lives shaken out. During times of revival, the transcendent power of God is unleashed in human beings . . . and when the divine is poured into the human, we can expect human beings to act in unusual ways. A new revival might well start, as did the Jesus Movement, among the least likely people. But whatever God chooses to do, we do know God will show up. His Word will pierce human hearts. And lives will change.
We long for former days of revival not because we’re nostalgic, trying to get the same experience back that we once had in the past. If we do that, our affections are sadly misplaced. No, we long for the Holy Spirit to fall upon us, our communities, and our nation in a fresh way so that God Himself would be glorified through the fruit and love of changed human lives.
Personal and corporate revival can turn us all upside down. Are you ready for that? What is a cynical, cold, or judgmental attitude you can surrender in exchange for the hope of the Holy Spirit’s transformative power.