Reasons to Hope
There are three reasons why I believe that we should hope for revival.
First, God delights in showing mercy. He takes pleasure in it. He enjoys it.
Sometimes when I’m praying for revival and for God to show mercy on this sin-sick world, I find myself thinking, “Lord, You ought to just judge this planet!” But then I have to stop and remember, “I was just like these people.”
You could say the same thing. We were just like them at one time, living for ourselves, having no regard for God or the things of God. Not the slightest bit interested, living in sin, rebelling against God, and frankly not really caring about any of it at all. Yet what did God do? He extended mercy to us. Amazing!!! So, because God delights in showing mercy, we as God’s people ought to anticipate that perhaps at this dark hour, He might still choose to graciously pour out His Spirit.
The Promised Outpouring of the Spirit
Second, I believe that we should hope for revival because the Scripture speaks of the Spirit being poured out in the last days. This promise is found repeatedly in the Bible. “In the last days, I will pour My Spirit on all flesh, says the LORD” (see Joel 2:28). Therefore, we can biblically anticipate outpourings of the Spirit of God as we get closer and closer to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The third reason I believe we should hope for revival (and this is purely subjective) is because it seems that God is moving in that direction. Although there are many things that appear to point in the direction of the Second Coming—whether it be international situations or the Middle East crisis—as I look at other events, I get the sense that there is still something that God is going to accomplish before Jesus returns.
I believe this because of my own experience of what God is doing in and through the ministry of Calvary Chapel. I am not saying that Calvary Chapel is the only ministry through which God is moving today. He’s working through many ministries, and we thank God for that. But I’m not involved in those other ministries so I don’t know the details. I do know the details, however, of what He’s doing with Calvary Chapel. And as I look at what He is accomplishing through the ministry of Calvary Chapel, it seems that the Lord is moving, and He is preparing to do something significant in the future.
As a ministry, we’ve grown to over twelve hundred related churches in the United States and hundreds more internationally. New churches are being planted, and men are continuing to be raised up to spread the Gospel.
We have the Bible colleges and extension campuses both in the States and overseas where literally hundreds and hundreds of young men and women are preparing themselves for service to God. I look at that and think, “Okay, Lord, it looks like this is all preparatory for something in the future.”
When I first went into Europe many years ago, our ministry was limited to evangelizing on the streets and meeting in people’s homes. Today, we have conference centers, Bible colleges, and various training centers in England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Hungary; as well as new churches emerging regularly. Now, I look at all of this and think, “Lord, You have laid the groundwork, You have laid a foundation. It is hard for me to believe that You would have laid the foundation without intending to erect the structure.” “‘Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?’ Says the LORD” (Isaiah 66:9a).
These are just the things we see happening in Europe, but I could go on talking about similar kinds of things all over the world. The point is God is on the move, He’s working, and personally I believe there’s more work to be done.
I could be dead wrong. But, because of what I see happening in our own ministry, I am convinced we ought to be hoping and praying for revival and spiritual awakening. Is a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit guaranteed? Can we say dogmatically, authoritatively, “If we do A, B, and C, then God is obligated to bring about revival?” Let me quote A. W. Tozer to answer that question:
“What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know. But what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped [for] in his leaner and weaker days.”1
1 A.W. Tozer. The Pursuit of God. Christian Publications, Inc., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, 1982, 1993, p. 66.