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Unexpected Revival

When the weekend blizzard hit, one of my friends couldn’t get a flight home out of Chattanooga, so she was making the most of it. Her text to me said that they were “cozied up in a coffee shop” and having unexpected revival.

Unexpected revival—there’s nothing better than that!

Have you ever experienced it?

I have a few times, many times actually. Unexpected personal revival can hit in a moment of sudden surrender when the Word and the Spirit open my eyes to something I’ve not realized I needed to release, repent of, or submit to. Or when the Spirit opens my eyes to a new reason to worship God. Unexpected personal revival can happen frequently, but what is most exciting is when personal revival spills over into conversation with others and God uses what He’s doing to impact them.

Several years ago, one of my dearest friends came down with a severe case of pneumonia. It reached the point that she needed some serious care, so she was stuck in the hospital for more than a week. The first few days were really rough, but when her oxygen levels rose a bit and the antibiotics began to kick in—we started having daily revival in that cramped hospital room! We called it “Salvation Station” because a continuous conversation about how God was at work was flowing. We shared His amazingness with any and every one who entered the room.

The nurses wanted to hang out with us (it was the happening place), old and new friends filed through, and sometimes the place was so crowded we couldn’t close the door! (I think we may’ve stretched the “hospital policy for visitors” a bit.) People liked stopping in because something was happening. It wasn’t the typical hospital room conversation. We couldn’t stop talking about Jesus, the Word, and how we were seeing God at work.

David came by to visit my friend and as he listened to us, he was open with her about his unbelief. He scoffed a bit at our conversation at first, but then he listened. When God is at work, He isn’t easily ignored.

David began to ask questions, and I opened my Bible to share the gospel and evidence of God’s reality. My friend and I told him about how we’d seen God at work in our lives recently. He listened. His whole demeanor changed. Only God can do that.

We prayed together before David left the room. Talking about God and talking to God was the normal flow for that hospital stay, it was a continuous stream of God-conversation: to Him, with Him, about Him. David went home affected. He was affected by the power of God he witnessed in that little hospital room and it challenged him to think about his future. But he went home without eternal life.

A few weeks after she got out of the hospital, my friend asked David if we could drop by his house and follow up on our conversation. He agreed to that, and he listened and asked good questions, but he still put up walls, resisting the tug of the Spirit.

It was only a few weeks later that David was diagnosed with cancer. He was shocked by the news. Friends and family flooded his hospital room to pour out love and support. David was face-to-face with the reality that we’d been sharing with him. He had to consider whether life consists of more than the here and now. He knew that he was unprepared to face a holy God and enter eternity—if eternity was a reality. If there was more to life after physical death, he knew he wasn’t ready.

My husband and I spent some time visiting with him as he lay in his hospital bed. The scoffing man I’d met a few months earlier was now broken and humbled. His body was growing weaker and his pride was being pummeled by his physical frailty. He was struggling with the idea of coming to God in this condition, said he didn’t want to “use” God, now that he had reached this point.

But the power of the Spirit broke through. As we spoke with him, David began to recognize how God had been at work, preparing him for this moment, breaking down his pride, stripping away his self-sufficiency, opening his eyes to His reality. And David cried out to God for salvation.

David’s new life was visible. Friends and family members immediately saw the change. He was a new man. He never left the hospital room to return to his home, but he left it to go to the home Jesus had prepared for him. David left that hospital room with the gift of eternal life.

[box]“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:4–9).[/box]

Have you experienced “unexpected revival?”

Do you see God at work in your life, and are you sharing that with others?

Is your life a “Salvation Station” for others?

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