It has been a very long winter in Minnesota. I am looking forward to spring. I am also looking forward to the lasting results of the Asbury Revival of 2023. Stephen A. Seamands was a senior student during the Asbury Revival of 1970. He later returned as a faculty member at Asbury Theological Seminary for nearly 40 years. He commented that the atmosphere of the revival was quiet and serene. It was like a veil was pulled back and students could see Jesus for the first time. Similar revivals began on other campuses of both Christian and secular schools. Seamans believes that it will take at least 30 years to totally understand what happened in 2023 and what the lasting results will be.
I believe the immediate results depend upon individuals and communities of believers. It is up to all of us to keep the momentum of the Holy Spirit working within us. The tendency is to go back to “business as usual.” It’s familiar, easy, and comfortable, but it’s exactly what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to go back to our old ways of serving God and others. We need to resist the natural inclination to do just that. The nature and purpose of revivals are to start a new and more effective way honoring God and serving others. Like the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon the students at Asbury on February 8, 2023, for a bigger purpose than just to be part of their schedule that day. In fact, He clearly interrupted their schedule that day. Fortunately, the staff and administration, the students and all in attendance recognized it as a divine interruption in a routine day – a visit from the Holy Spirit. It makes me wonder how many divine interventions we miss because we are so focused on getting our tasks done. We like to get things checked off our “to do” list. I imagine that God said something like, “Stop your busyness and pay attention to ME. I have something important to tell you and to show you.” People stopped that day -- and for the following 11 days.
Granted, college students are often eager to be interrupted from their studies, but people across the nation and around the world all stopped and paid attention to the Revival at Asbury. Many conservative media hosts stopped and paid attention. It went viral!! That is a really big deal. If the pandemic of 2019 (something bad) was a big deal, it makes sense that something outstandingly good (even golden), should actually be a REALLY BIG DEAL! Let’s not miss this! Though the Revival was for a moment in time, I believe God means it for more than that -- far more. It is essential to notice those who stopped what they were doing, interrupted their all-important agenda, and recognized the significance of the Revival of 2023. For the most part, the world has not. Secular news, politicians, leaders of nations have not paused their agenda for God. Many Christians, including church leaders, also did not comment or seem to notice the moving of God at Asbury.
I love God’s timing. I love that this Revival is just before Easter. Easter is a time of new hope and joy. Jesus died on the cross in payment for our sins. He rose again on Easter Sunday and is now seated in heaven with the Father. All of creation illustrates this truth of His death, burial, and resurrection. Creation itself testifies about the Creator. In the spring all things are made new by God’s design. It is seems impossible to live on the earth and not recognize God as Creator. Each spring, each celebration of Easter brings renewed life as well as renewed hope. In this present time, the time of the Revival of 2023, we can have hope. We can rest in the assurance that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Charles Spurgeon said of Romans 8:28 that this verse is “The Song of Holy Confidence.” May we have Holy Confidence in our Risen Lord!
Happy Resurrection Sunday,