Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wake, wake, wake!

     There is a moment in C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian that I have always found particularly compelling. Lucy is awake alone at night and standing among the trees that used to be vibrantly alive and able to take on human form. As she stands there, remembering that time of joy, health and aliveness, she finds herself calling out, "Oh, Trees, Trees, Trees… Oh, Trees, wake, wake, wake. Don't you remember it? Don't you remember me?" And the trees rustle a bit but fail to waken, and the magic moment passes (but they do awaken later, as you may know).
     Every time I think about this scene, I feel Lucy's angst and longing in ways it's hard for me to describe. It seems this scene captures the inescapable angst in my heart at the broken state of our nation, our world and the western church and the resultant longing for a global Spiritual Awakening.  Certainly there have been other times in history when the need for an earth-shaking, world-changing spiritual awakening has been this apparent, but I am alive now, and although my age may mean that I am a bit more tempered in my passion and vigor than when my heart first burned for this, I still find the longing for a true Spiritual Awakening aflame in me and hear my heart saying to God's people, "Oh, wake, wake, wake!"
     As I write these words, my mind takes me back over 40 years to when my lifelong hunger for spiritual awakening was first given clarity and fiery life. It happened as I sat week by week in a seminary class by Dr. J. Edwin Orr, who was at the time the world's leading authority on spiritual awakenings. As Dr. Orr told story after story of entire cultures being changed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of entire societies being redirected and shaped by God, my own awakening took place as I came to realize that anything less than cultural/societal transformation is not what it means for God's will to be done on earth as it is Heaven. A true Spiritual Awakening always shifts people, and everything in life, towards God's will and purposes, towards wholeness in every sense of the word, in a profoundly noticeable way.
     So now, 40 years later, I am still waiting, longing, expecting. As the darkness seems to be getting darker in western culture, I find both angst and expectancy increasing. There is an urgency I hear in my spirit, an urgent call for God's people to repent--turn from lesser, distracting things to Him and to what matters--and to live in His love and power in a way that naturally but irresistibly points us outward. But it's not a fearful urgency, but rather an urgency born of expectancy. The King is coming, the flood of God's River is already flowing in non-Western countries in unprecedented ways, and like a tsunami, the Wave of God is coming to sweep with grace, power and justice over the western world as well. 
     But our participation in this as believers won't be automatic, of course. To catch this Wave, we must choose to be alert and watching, facing the King with unreserved focus and devotion, enabled in this by His fiery love for us and others, willing to let Him pare away lesser things even as He continues to heal and mature us. Perhaps most of all this simply means a fresh and continuing presentation of our hearts and our wills to Him and an alert listening for His voice as His Spirit, more loudly than ever, says, "Wake, wake, wake!"

Tom, one of Abba's children