What Does It Look Like When Christ Rules a People Through Revival?
[Editor’s Note: This amazing story is adapted from portions of Christ Is All: A Joyful Manifesto on the Supremacy of God’s Son (www.ChristIsAllBook.com) by David Bryant. New York City just hosted “Movement Day Global Cities” with 3000 leaders from around the world (representing Christian mission in over 100 of the great global cities across the earth), where stories like this one were reported over and over again. If it can happen there it can happen right where you live. Same Jesus. Same Kingdom. Same transforming power. Same grace upon grace.]
Jesus is not only the summation and consummation of Christian hope, he is also the source of profound approximations of that hope poured out on his Church every day, in a host of ways.
Among those blessings is one we sometimes call a “spiritual awakening.” Whether with a congregation or a whole nation, every God-given revival is a foretaste of the “Final Revival,” the one awaiting us at the very moment Christ openly returns to reign.
That’s why I like the phrase “approximations of the Consummation.” Our Lord wants to give us foretastes of greater things ahead. He is ready to share the fullness of his lordship with us right now individually, in our churches—even in an entire nation anywhere in the world.
Here’s one story to demonstrate how revival can impact a whole nation for Christ’s kingdom. As you read it, ask yourself: “Is this the kind of ‘approximation’ I would like to experience where I live?”
Darkness in Uganda
At the close of the 20th century, a wonderful move of God, with all the earmarks of the Consummation, came to the beleaguered nation of Uganda. Once known as the “jewel of Africa,” this beautiful land had become devastated, physically and spiritually, by multiple oppressive regimes headed by diabolical dictators. Economically, Africa’s breadbasket had become its worst “basket case.” Most distressing, tens of thousands of Christians were martyred for their faith, many by unspeakable tortures.
As a result, in the late 1990s hundreds of thousands in the churches began to cry out to God for a spiritual awakening in their land. The believers grappled with the need for soul-searching repentance inside the Church. They confessed all the ways they were actually complicit in the Lord’s judgments on Uganda as a whole. Broken in spirit, they pleaded for God’s mercy. They faced their own unfaithfulness and indifference to the massive East African Revivals (as they were known) just a few short decades earlier. How quickly they had turned away from Christ’s powerful work among them toward the beginning of the century!
Finally, God answered their cries. Joyous confidence about Christ’s kingdom reignited their churches. Passion for the Promise-Giver once again marked thousands of congregations large and small. But this was just the beginning of revival.
At the same time, ungodly strongmen were unexpectedly expelled. Corrupt structures of oppression were decisively dismantled. Political and religious prisoners were set free. Persecution of the Church came to an end. A devoutly righteous Christian leader became Uganda’s president. He made his first official act a public rededication of the entire nation to Jesus Christ as its Lord!
Following that, to the amazement of all, significant economic recovery began. Far more importantly, once known as the African nation with the largest AIDS epidemic, a nationwide commitment to sexual abstinence turned back the plague. It rendered Uganda the country with the least threat of AIDS — all in just one decade! Furthermore, some of the largest churches in Africa could now be found there, with one in Kampala growing from a few hundred to nearly 15,000 in five years. Fasting and prayer became a way of life for Ugandan Christians as they sought even deeper manifestations of Christ’s reign in their generation.
To these African believers, every change “felt” as if the Consummation had already broken in upon them. As a result, Christians began to hunger for something greater, something beyond just national renovation. Their prayers became heart-sighs for nothing less than Christ’s return to set up his kingdom in fullest measure among them, as well as throughout Africa and among the nations.
Stories like this are multiplying everywhere. A half-decade into the 21st century, one of Latin America’s leading evangelists, addressing an all-night prayer vigil of 250,000 in Mexico City, declared: “Latin America is at the threshold of an enormous spiritual awakening!” The Argentine-born Alberto Mottesi continued: “I’m not speaking of a spiritual revival, but a spiritual awakening. This will bring forth revival in the economic, political and social arenas. It reminds me of what happened in Martin Luther’s Reformation, which became the preamble to the Renaissance, affecting the arts and culture. We are going to see something similar in Latin America.”
Surely, these are the kinds of stories God is willing to write for his Son within churches and communities everywhere. Call it revival. Call it spiritual awakening. But call it, without doubt, “approximations of the Consummation”!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ-proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI) and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely-read book at www.ChristIsAllBook.com.