Luke 19:44… “Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (KJV). The NIV reads, “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” I want to share with you a short story of a revival in the middle of the 1800s.
In the mid-1800s there was a Methodist minister by the name of James Caughey. When he began his ministry in the northeast, nothing unusual happened in his meetings. Actually, he did not have a very promising ministry. But things changed in 1841 when he visited England. David Smither writes, “For nearly seven years Caughey was the ordained means of sparking revival in one industrial city after another all across Britain. [During those seven years], 22,000 souls [were] converted and thousands more refreshed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Mr. Caughey’s revival ministry repeatedly emptied the public drinking houses and miraculously transformed entire communities. Most of his converts were young people, between the ages of sixteen and thirty years old. One of those especially impacted by Caughey’s preaching was a tall and gangly youth named William Booth.” Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army.
James Caughey gives this account of a meeting in the fall of 1843 in Hull, England. Notice his words… “At this moment an influence, evidently from Heaven, came upon the people suddenly; it seemed like some mighty bursting of a storm of wind upon some extensive forest. The entire congregation was in motion; some preparing to flee from the place, and others prostrating themselves before the Lord God of Hosts. Cries for mercy, and piercing supplications for purity of heart were heard from all parts of . . . the chapel. . . The scene was, beyond description, grand and sublimely awful. It was God’s own house, and heaven’s gate. Poor sinners were amazed, and fled; but some fell down, some distance from the chapel, in terror and agony. Many however remained, repeating the publican’s plea, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ . . .I was glad to have a place of concealment in the bottom of the pulpit. . . Thus it continued for about twenty-five minutes, when the Lord stayed His hand, and there was a sudden and heavenly calm, full of sunshine and glory. The number converted and sanctified on that night was great. . . A few such shocks of almighty power would turn the kingdom of the devil in any city upside down, and go far to convert the entire population.”
Did you notice that the window of visitation was about twenty-five minutes before God stayed his hand? For a span of just less than a half an hour, God suddenly came… and as a result, nothing could go on as usual. Divine order suddenly became divine disorder. God was in His holy temple and all the earth became silent before Him. Are you and your church ready for such a visitation?
How long should God’s visitation last? Would you be satisfied with just a half an hour? How about just a one-minute touch? “O Lord, visit us: our assembly, our home, and our family.” Would that God would open His window for just a half an hour in our churches! Jesus told the people in our text that they did not recognize the time of God’s coming to them. Will the present church know?
(Source: Charles Schmitt, Foundational Teachings; Silver Springs, Maryland)
Pastor George Belobaba
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