What do You Groan for?
I have personally been aware of two genuine yet not famous times of revival. One was while I was a student at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. Evidently some of the upperclassmen were so taken by the Word of God that they dared to pray like Habakkuk recorded in 3:2:
“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy”. (KJV)
I was present the evening that revival broke out on that campus but I wasn’t present to the significance of the spiritual reality. I felt tired and left in the middle of the revival the Lord brought. I was glad to hear the reports of the personal meaning the revival had in other’s lives, but I did not feel compelled to be a part of it, either by prayer or through my own confession. I wish I had been more connected to what was taking place as I now realize that was a rare spiritual happening for the purpose of God’s glory. In more recent years I was told about a revival that happened among the students of a small Christian School. In both cases the students were so moved by the presence of the Holy Spirit that they began confessing their sins to one another late into the evening. In both cases there were believers whose groaning for revival were used to bring about this rare and beautiful experience.
I remembered these two experiences after I read one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons Spiritual Revival the Want of the Church. Spurgeon wrote: “And what is it that will make the true Christian groan for revival? When he reflects on what Christ has done for him, he will groan for his own revival.” Groaning for revival, I’m not sure that I have ever personally experienced the kind of groaning to which Spurgeon refers. It’s not that I don’t groan. Indeed I groan about many realities. I groan about the ways I see others fail to be what could or should be for Christ.
Spurgeon’s question and answer challenged me to groan in a different way. Rather than focus my groaning on the failures of man, I need to focus my prayers on the failures of Debi. Habakkuk was so moved by the stories of old that he wanted to see and experience them with his own eyes. He went beyond wanting to see it for the thrill of being a part of a spiritual reality, rather he groaned for revival so that the name of God would be glorified. He groaned for the world to behold the glory of God. He was so moved by the wonder of the God who created Him that he boldly asked for revival.
As I have just returned from Israel, I have even more reason to groan over my sins. I have a truer grasp of just what my sin cost Jesus. I am left with groans about the knowledge that I could never take in the degree that He suffered on my behalf. I am left to groan. I want to groan for His hard work of the cross to be revealed in me. I want to groan that it would have its full effect on my church.
Groaning for revival begins as I groan for revival in myself, then others. As I think of all the situations that I have been groaning about most recently, I want to replace that by praying like Habakkuk. I want to learn to groan for revival of God’s work. I don’t know if that will enable me to witness and become a participant in yet another revival in my day. I don’t know how long I would groan for revival before I witness it. I know that groaning for revival begins with recognizing the glory of God and groaning over my own sin and the sin of my people. That is the only kind of groaning that has the potential to result in anything worthwhile.