The following voice mail message awaiting my arrival home intrigued me: “I’m a former military man and a minister of the Gospel,” said the speaker, adding “I want to talk to you about your book, “A Place To Hide.”
Like any author, I enjoy receiving contacts about my books, but why this call at this time concerning a book that had been published in 1983 and has long been out of print?
My purpose in writing it had been to provide help to those so frightened by the nuclear threat of the cold war that they were joining survivalist groups and heading for the hills.
Thousands in North America had built and stocked elaborate bunkers with supplies to survive in the event of a nuclear attack and were arming themselves intending to kill, if necessary, anyone who tried to get any of their food or other provisions. “If thy neighbor hunger, shoot him,” seemed to be the prevailing attitude among these frightened people.
I saw the self-centered view among most survivalists as contrary to a lifestyle of faith and called for a relationship with God that would enable us to conquer our fears, expecting God to protect us.
Upon returning the call of this minister, I discovered that his wife had found my book in a library and, bringing it home, told her survivalist husband she didn’t think he would like it. This peaked his interest and he began to devour the book, finally breaking down in tears over how mistaken he had been and wanting to share his change of heart with others. While his former goal had been to hold retreats where he could teach people how to survive, he now wanted to help them understand that our survival ultimately rests with God and our greatest need is to be right with Him. In other words, he now saw revival as the key to survival. But what is revival?
Some see revival as a series of meetings over a period of several days with a visiting speaker, musical group or both, but historically genuine spiritual awakenings have been far more than religious efforts boxed in by dates on church calendars.
Walter Bolt, a man active in a late twentieth century Canadian awakening said “Revival is God at work restoring His church to health.” Charles Finney, the often quoted nineteenth century minister-writer still considered an authority on revival, called it “a new beginning of obedience to God.”
The first recorded widespread North American revival began in The Congregational Church of Northampton, Massachusetts in 1735. Pastor Jonathan Edwards became concerned about the weak spiritual condition of his church and community and began praying for revival. Historians call the answer to his prayers “The Great Awakening.”
Churches all over New England came alive; prayer meetings were packed, the moral tone of the time was lifted and crime declined. Even Europe was affected as the news spread across the Atlantic, aiding the Wesleyan revival that was changing England.
These tense times call for a new focus on old essentials: repentance, faith and prayer.
Our survival may depend on a genuine revival based on enduring Biblical truth.
Would you be in favor of having a great awakening begin in your church and community? Are you willing to allow this revival to begin in you?