A Note from Carol: I love giving some of my dearest friends a voice during the summer on my Joy for the Journey blog. Let me introduce you to Founder of Every Life Ministries and award-winning author, Erica Wiggenhorn.
I know she has something rich and wise to share with you, and I hope you will take the time to enjoy this post and soak in her insight. I also hope you will take the time to visit her website at https://ericawiggenhorn.com/.
Don’t worry … I am still here, and I will be back writing Joy for the Journey at the end of the summer. In the meantime, I am writing a new Bible Study and preparing all sorts of wonderful ministry events for the fall. Blessings and joy!
An excerpt from An Unexpected Revival: Experiencing God’s Goodness Through Disappointment and Doubt from Moody Publishers.
When you think of revival, what pictures come to mind? Giant crowds? Megachurches? Emotional pleas from polished preachers? Lots of church folks involved, right? We’d hope so. We all have our preconceived ideas of what revival ought to look like. Ezekiel certainly did. He thought revival would happen in Jerusalem. The religious epicenter of his nation. He thought it looked like political freedom, economic prosperity, and religious fervor. And he was wrong.
The prophecies of Ezekiel give us a different picture of revival. The people God chose to spark revival were counted out, cast aside, displaced and disregarded. They were the lot whom everyone decided God had forgotten. The ones out of favor, lacking supposed fervor, and forced into captivity by their enemies. In the Jewish way of thinking, removal from the land signified God’s displeasure and a consequence for unfaithfulness (See Deuteronomy 28:36-44). People who believed their doubts and doubted their beliefs. But God insists those are the exact people ripe for revival. Seems so backwards, doesn’t it?
Instead of searching for revival somewhere out there, I believe God invites us to revival in here, meaning right inside the caverns of our very own hearts. God promised Ezekiel He would remove their heart of stone and give them a new heart and a new spirit. Revival comes when the mother standing over a sink of dirty dishes, exhausted and weary from her daily duties cries out, “God, help me!”. When the man or the woman sit in their cubicle at work, battling the same bad habit they just cannot get a handle on begging, “God, change me!”. When the student on their campus longs to make a difference in the world and for God to reveal His will prays, “LORD, use me!”. And as He sparks revival to one solitary heart, that flickering flame spreads, creating a wildfire of faith across our land.
Revival comes unexpectedly. In places that seem unknown and obscure. Abraham found it in a desolate desert. Moses found it on the edge of civilization in a burning bush. Elijah found it in a snarky, unbelieving pagan woman’s home. John the Baptist found it in the blazing Judean desert. Peter found it in an empty fishing net he could not find a way to fill. Paul found it on a murderous mission. John Mark found it through the shame of quitting and disappointing his leaders. All pretty unexpected places, wouldn’t you agree?
Maybe your life has not unfolded exactly as you had hoped. Maybe you wonder why God did not intervene differently in your difficulty or devastation. The Bible seems silent, and God feels distant. The fire you once felt became snuffed out by stifling circumstances. Some people would tell you to just have more faith. I would tell you that you are right on the edge of revival. When you know in your head that God can do anything but you long in your heart for Him to do the best thing. To step into your ordinary world and remind you once again that you serve an extraordinary God.
I love this quote by Dallas Willard: The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes– a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The ordinary man, living his everyday life, and God comes to do the extraordinary. God seeks one man, one woman who longs for revival, whom He can fill with fresh fire. Will it be you?
Do you long to feel a closer connection to God? To discern His voice, experience His peace, and live in His joy?
We are not the first people to believe our doubts and doubt our beliefs when circumstances spiral out of control. In those times, God pursues us with His goodness, desiring to bring revival to our broken hearts. An Unexpected Revival, an 8-week Bible study through the prophecies of Ezekiel, sparks a fire in our longing hearts to feel renewed excitement in our relationship with God. Ezekiel teaches us to come close and invite God to fill us with fresh fire. God offers His joy, peace and purpose to any who seek it. Do you long for revival?
Zoom Out: When Life Hits You Sideways
guest blog, perspective, the crossCarol McLeodJuly 28, 2022women, the cross, difficulties, challenges, perspective