FIRST-PERSON: A puddle of tears

Tags: revival

EASLEY, S.C. (BP) -- As I write this, we have just finished an amazing three days of revival as two churches joined together to seek a fresh move of God. As John Avant with Life Actions Ministries concluded the final service, I approached the stage for some final remarks.

That's when I noticed something on the platform that I don't recall seeing before. It was a puddle of tears.

I counted them -- nine large tears were puddled up on the wooden platform. The altar was full with people praying, so I have no idea who left their tears on the altar.

I was struck by what those tears represented. Those nine large teardrops represented hope, faith and brokenness before the Lord. Someone was genuinely crying out to God for His intervention. When they got up and left the altar, they left their tears there.

I've been the pastor of my church for 21 years, and I can't recall ever seeing a puddle of tears at the altar.

Maybe we are starting to see the first signs of real revival. Maybe that fresh move of God we have been seeking has already begun, at least for that one person. I know that emotion and tears by themselves can never bring revival. God is the one who sends revival to His people.

However, the Bible seems to indicate that God responds to our brokenness.

In 2 Kings 20, King Hezekiah became terminally ill. He was told to set his house in order because he would soon die. He did what you and I would do in that situation. He prayed -- perhaps in a way he had never prayed before.

And God noticed. It's very possible that a puddle of tears formed at Hezekiah's feet as he prayed. God said to him through the prophet Isaiah, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold I will heal you" (2 Kings 20:5 NASB). I can't fully explain it, but our tears seem to move God's heart.

Does your church need revival? Or, better yet, do you? Find a place to pray. I mean really pray. I don't think that God is reluctant to send revival, I think we are reluctant to really want it. We are content to keep God at a distance.

Maybe that is changing at our church. Perhaps one by one we are starting to realize that God is ready to do a fresh work in us if we will turn our faces toward Him, rather than our backs.

I have hope for the church in America. It seems that more and more people are getting thirsty for God. Let's pray for God to break through our excuses and our apathy. Let's call out to Him and genuinely surrender our lives to the Lord.

One day soon, I hope that you will see something in your church that will stop you in your tracks -- a puddle of tears. The one who holds our tears in a bottle may use them to ignite the fires of revival. Wouldn't that be just like God?

Keith Shorter is pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in the Baptist Courier (www.baptistcourier.com), the convention's newsjournal.
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