I want to remind everyone reading this that God is in total control. You may question, “Why would God allow this Covid darkness to hover over our world for so long.” I don’t know the answer to that; all I can tell you is Covid did not catch God by surprise. He knew it was coming and he has every provision available to help us through it. The biggest provision He gives is hope. His book, the Bible, gives hope. His promises in the Bible give hope and his church offers hope to all during dark times.
God has also provided the Holy Spirit for difficult times. The Holy Spirit is the manifestation of God in the world while God himself is in heaven waiting, I believe, to return soon. One thing the Holy Spirit has done over and over throughout history, from time to time, is to visit certain churches and communities in a powerful way. The results are powerful changes that take place during the time of his visitation upon a certain group of people. The Holy Spirit’s visitation program started at the beginning of the church age known as Pentecost, which changed the Jewish world for a period of time. That coming of the Holy Spirit was really a visit by God himself in a spiritual sense. There is a time coming when Christ will come in the physical and will actually rule and reign on the earth for 1000 years. For the past 2000 years he has visited many times through his representative the Holy Spirit. These special visits are commonly called revivals. Although sometimes misunderstood and misused today, revivals are real, exciting events. They are like the bursting forth of springtime: a refreshing, an awakening, making alive again.
When a visitation of the Holy Spirit occurs, the results are always the same. Hundreds or thousands of people are converted to Christ. They become converts who never go back to their former way of sinful living. It is also a time when the Christian religion sees afresh sin as sin and salvation as salvation in its simplest and most powerful way. Churches that are traditional and ritualistic become fervent about Christ and the Bible, not their traditions. The grave cloths of tradition, froth and religion are shed for the higher life of relationship with God. It is a time when the prayers of God’s people are powerfully answered. Often prayer meetings spring up in businesses and churches and homes. It can also be a time of great opposition when satanic forces attack this emergence of new life. But God in times of revival times always conquers over evil.
I would like to reflect on one of those occasions, about 1724, when the Holy Spirit visited England. First, I want to share the condition of England during that time. You might think I was talking about Prince Albert, La Ronge or Saskatoon. Mark Guy Pearse, in a little booklet entitled, “The Christianity of Jesus Christ,” describes the conditions in England at the time of the revival. He states that morals had reached a low ebb, that drunkenness and profanity and Sabbath desecration were not regarded as in any way wrong. I would say it seems a lot like Canada today. Drinking to excess was also practised by those who were regarded as aristocracy. “Drunk as a Lord” was a standard expression. Pearce says that every sixth door, on average, in the business section of London, was a saloon. This inscription over some doors was: “Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for two pennies, and straw furnished.” The Sabbath (Sunday) had become a day of pleasure-seeking and recreation rather than one of rest and devotion to God. Sunday afternoons were usually given over to animal and fowl fighting, where large crowds gathered. Members of Parliament were usually heavy drinkers and were involved in the fowl fights by betting or ownership. Many of the preachers of religion were drinkers and took part in the recreational activities on the Sabbath. Profanity, drunkenness, sexual immorality and Sabbath desecration were just as sinful then as they are today.
Another source on the conditions of England before the British Revival of the Christian religion said: The spiritual condition in England was deplorable, decadent and a moral cesspool. Alcohol abuse was rampant, with every sixth house being a grogshop (a cheap bar where customers could get drunk for a penny). Gangs roamed the streets terrorizing anybody out after dark. They would disfigure people’s faces with knives, stab people in the legs with swords, sexually assault women, and even murder was not uncommon. Law enforcement was failing, and criminals multiplied. The slave trade was widespread and growing. Tickets were sold to watch public executions, as if it were a theatre.
This was the state of things in London in 1724 before the amazing time known in England as the Wesleyan Revival or the British Great Awakening of the 1700’s. This was a time when God came to London and left in its wake a changed England. I truly believe God can do this for Canada.
This time of revival all began when brothers John and Charles Wesley, along with about 60 others, were praying together at a New Years’ watch night service. About 3 a.m. the power of God flooded into the room and into their hearts. John Wesley claimed that night he felt his heart strangely warmed. He was transformed and never the same after that night. He was a religious man but until that night had never experienced the new birth. Within weeks of that all-night prayer meeting thousands were coming to hear John and Charles Wesley proclaim the message of the gospel. Between 1728 and 1791, 1.25 million people in England were converted to Christ. It is said the Wesleys practically changed the outlook and even the character of the English nation. Before the English Great Awakening, the country was divided and headed for a revolution but the Great Awakening spared the country from that evil.
This revival started not among the lords and aristocrats but among the common people. It started in the Anglican church but the Anglican bishops did not accept the straight, forward, powerful preaching of the Wesleys and George Whitfield. These men were three firebrands that ignited one of the most powerful revivals ever to touch any country in the world. This revival affected all of Europe and the new American colonies. There were over two million people converted to Christ during the ministry of these men. It changed the social life of England. Saloons were closed, animal fighting almost ceased and the church became important in all levels of society. Could it be that during these dark times God is actually getting the world ready for a visit; maybe in a revival visit again. He likes to change things in dark and difficult times when people actually get more serious about seeking for answers from God instead of answers from man. Pro_14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Pro_12:28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
God bless you all until next week. Remember, God can change everything but it starts with you.
The content of this article is solely the personal opinions of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Prince Albert Shopper.