It Only Takes a Spark....
“That looks like the revival you always pray for, Grandpa.” I pointed to his television showing tens of thousands of young people lifting candles to enlighten the Dallas Cowboys Stadium before Billy Graham preached. Chills ran through me as the lyrics “It only takes a spark to get a fire burning…” came through the news channel.
My paternal grandfather was born in 1902 to a family touched by a revival in their Methodist church at that time. It so impacted him that every prayer I heard from his mouth included “Bring another revival to this country.” In fact, he uncharacteristically hadn’t even argued with his wife in 1932 when during her third of eight pregnancies she insisted God told her that child would be a preacher. The baby who would become my pastor father was named John Wesley.
But that evening in the summer of 1972 in their humid swamp-cooled Virginia home, I was mesmerized.
The big excitement in Colorado church youth groups back home appeared on Grandpa’s Virginia news station, Explo '72 in Dallas, at the apex of the Jesus Movement. I hoped Grandpa would see it was the revival he’d been praying for.
Instead, I heard, “That cannot be a move of God because the boys have long hair, the girls wear pants instead of skirts, and the music has guitars. Hymns played on that instrument are not worship.” And he turned the television off.
I’ve thought of this often in the past few years since a young long-haired blond man first sang at our church on his cross-country outdoor worship tour during covid restrictions. I was introduced to other preachers, like the Tampa, Florida pastor arrested for not closing his church, young people who witnessed with hundreds of decisions for Christ, and thousands of college students currently worshiping the Lord.
I cringed that I am nearly the age my grandfather was in 1972. Though I’ve continued the family pattern of praying for revival: Sean Feucht, Rodney Howard-Brown, Jonathan Shuttlesworth, many other preachrs and Asbury's Holy Spirit’s moving don't look exactly like I imagined a revival.
I am convicted that instead of saying the same thing my precious grandfather did in discounting a move of God because it wasn’t what he experienced in his youth, I will continue to pray that this excitement may bring another world-changing GREAT AWAKENING.