Things aren’t panning out as I expected. I was expecting to hit the ground running and see miracles, signs and wonders wherever I went. Three months in and I’ve seen barely a trace. Sure, there have been some great experiences but that’s not what I’ve come here for. Let’s revisit the vision:
..from the rising of the sun they will revere His glory.
For He will come like a pent-up flood
that the breath of the Lord drives along.
Revival. From the start things have been a lot harder than I expected and as time marches on I’m beginning to wonder how long this will take, and if it will happen at all. What should I do if we get to November and we’re still not seeing revival? Should I go home with nothing to show after spending eight months and several thousand pounds here? Could I stand at the front of New Life, after all the faith-filled big talk before leaving, and say ‘yeah, it was ok’. Should I stay here until the vision comes to fruition, even past my planned return in November? These are the questions I’ve been asking God. To be honest, it was becoming more like a plea. Please God, don’t let me go home empty-handed.
I’ve been thinking about my first church visit when I arrived in Leyte. The Pentecostal church at Tigbao, Tacloban. I’d felt like it was significant, but afterwards I couldn’t see why. Physically I’d been in a very sorry state that day, not at all the triumphant revivalist, and I’d left without saying much to anyone. I’ve been wondering if I’d missed something, so last week I decided I would pay them a second visit at the weekend. At least I could see how they were getting on with fixing their roof.
I arrived to find the roof was on and that it was Pentecost Sunday. The projector displayed an image of Pentecostal fire. The pastor was pointing to it and adding some fiery preaching. I remembered how we’d really met with God the last time I was there and now I was expectant again. But after the introductions, the announcements, the birthdays, more announcements, baby dedications and offering we were a full two hours into the meeting. At one point the band started to worship and I felt things started rising in the Spirit, but then they went into ‘smile a while’ and everyone stopped to shake everyone else’s hand. I was thinking we’d missed the moment. It was hot. Under the new roof the temperature in the church felt about right for baking bread and my expectation was starting to wane. I was tired now and ready to go home.
But then the pastor got up and announced that he was going to cut short his preaching. After a brief talk, he said, we would spend the rest of the meeting in worship, seeking God’s face for a fresh outpouring. Man, that cheered me right up! He introduced the theme of his message: “Don’t go home empty!” Wow, I’d just heard my words come right back at me, no longer a question but an answer. Man, he didn’t need to say anything else (which was just as well because I didn’t understand most of it.) All my questions were answered right there and then. I’m gonna get my Pentecostal outpouring in this province, and I’m not leaving until I do.