Revive Us Again
The hot Alabama sun can be draining and—as the thermometer pushes toward the 100-degree mark—what once looked healthy can lose strength and vitality under its rays. To this end, look at any plant that has not been watered recently and see the heat’s obvious impact; leaves begin turning brown and the beautiful flowers of morning wilt and hang low by afternoon. Such is a good metaphor for struggles faced by saints.
People of God face the loss of stamina when “the heat” of spiritual struggles presses down. Such a situation is well illustrated in Psalm 85. Attributed to the authorship of the “Sons of Korah,” the psalm beckons the Lord for revival amidst the problems facing the nation of Israel. Midway through the psalm, the author asks, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” and, by the end of the psalm, confidently affirms that “the Lord will give what is good” (vv. 6, 12). Throughout the beautiful hymn beckoning God’s revival, His attributes are lauded; His steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace are sources of comfort. It is because of these qualities that the psalmist can confidently expect the coming of the Lord’s salvation.
Every child of God should expect experiences that threaten to drain spiritual stamina. As proof, consider that strong souls such as Jesus’ disciples, David, Elijah, and Job often felt that they could not continue due to the struggle that was being faced. In each case, they turned to God as the source of their revival and, in each case, God provided what was necessary to revive. Consider each of these men as examples of those who endured some of the more common “spiritual drainers,” which beckon for God’s provision of revival:
- Temptation: Jesus assured His disciples that all would face this struggle: “Temptations to sin are sure to come” (Luke 17:1a). As the disciples, all Christians face the daily strain to overcome things that would cause one to fall from the pathway of holiness, and this can seem overwhelming. However, God has promised the power to overcome: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (I Corinthians 10:13). Revival comes when the kind of trust reminiscent of Psalm 85 is placed in God.
- Failure: Falling to temptation brings spiritual draining and puts one on the perilous path to spiritual death. David, the “Man after God’s own heart,” knew well the danger he faced when he fell to the sin of adultery. After committing this sin, he wrote, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:34). When David repented of this sin, he found revival in the forgiveness offered by the Lord. He cried to the Lord, stating, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). The forgiveness God offered David is the same forgiveness He offers to all who are ashamed of their actions and desire a return to purity. Revival is found in restoration!
- Failure of Others: Sometimes it is the failings of others that bring the need for revival. A case in point is the prophet Elijah, who believed that he alone was serving God. As he fled the presence of an evil queen bent on his destruction, he cried out to God, saying, “I have been very jealous for the name the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life to take it away” (I Kings 19:14). Revival came from God by putting his prophet back to work and with a reminder that 7,000 still faithfully served Him. Sometimes revival comes from God by the reminder that He is in control, no matter how it may look on the surface.
- The Unknown: Humans have an uncanny ability to frighten themselves with horror scenarios when imagining the future. Still, there are times when bad things occur and the one suffering has no idea why these things happen. Such was the case with Job. In a matter of moments, this righteous man learned he had lost his family, wealth, and livestock. It was not long afterward that he also lost his health. To make matters worse, three friends came to provide “comfort” by explaining to him that it was his own sin that brought him low. Though he came very close at times to losing his faith, he never gave up on God even though he never knew why these things happened. Revival came from the Lord when he saw Job’s fortitude through endurance.
An old hymn entitled Revive Us Again draws on the imagery of Psalm 85. In its lyrics, hymnist William McKay calls for the revival that is needed in the life of every Christian. May each reader join with McKay in the plea made in the fourth stanza of his hymn and entreat God for the revival that He offers when spiritual challenges arise:
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above