We too often have become people who want to manipulate God and manipulate people. We love our formulas for success. We like our “ankle deep” relationship with God. We’re still fully in control.
The prayer revival at Asbury University has been going for a week. Visitors are coming so there are times when they allow for overflow in other spaces on campus. I wish social media didn’t exist because doubters from Christian to atheist have their say on what is happening on that campus.
A faculty member gives his thoughts HERE.
As an analytic theologian, I am weary of hype and very wary of manipulation. I come from a background (in a particularly revivalist segment of the Methodist-holiness tradition) where I’ve seen efforts to manufacture “revivals” and “movements of the Spirit” that were sometimes not only hollow but also harmful. I do not want anything to do with that.
And truth be told, this is nothing like that. There is no pressure or hype. There is no manipulation. There is no high-pitched emotional fervor.
To the contrary, it has so far been mostly calm and serene. The mix of hope and joy and peace is indescribably strong and indeed almost palpable—a vivid and incredibly powerful sense of shalom. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is undeniably powerful but also so gentle.
The vision of Ezekiel is powerful because it shows different depths and speaks to our fears. We too often want control of God’s movements. He calls us out to the depths where he can move us and we can only trust. The place of Kingdom abundance is a place we cannot control or manipulate. This is a place that makes us anxious. It shouldn’t. It should drives us nuts when WE try to control things!
I pray this time of refreshing at Asbury does just that for a new generation of students: refresh them. Lord knows they need it. We all need it. We’re worn out and frazzled. As a result we’re bitter, angry, snapping at each other, and full of anxiety. We all need these times of refreshing. We all need to be in a place where we will get out where we can’t touch bottom and let the river of God truly carry us.