Adam Northcroft
Longing for more of Jesus

Any Christian familiar with the history of UK revivals can’t fail to be impacted by the accounts of those times.

The Wesleyan, the Welsh and the Hebridean revivals - among others - include extraordinary stories about encounters with God.  As those previous generations describe the impact of his presence they talk about knowing power, joy, peace, freedom and healing.

Most of all, however, the records show how thousands of previously disinterested people flock to church and end up with a deep and transformative faith in Christ.

We read about the longer-term impact those revivals had. How this nation was more than likely spared the death and carnage of a copy-cat French Revolution because of the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. We see how alcoholism dropped dramatically in Wales after the 1904 revival and how local magistrates saw much quieter times.

Today we read these accounts with wonder, struggling to grasp them since Christians in the West haven’t anything in recent times with which to compare them. They are amazing but also somehow feel out of reach to us. We can end up wondering if we’ll ever see anything like them again.

Well, while Europe has been relatively quiet in recent years, it’s not the same story in many other parts of the world. In fact it could not be more different.

In China today it is estimated there are between 100-200 million Christians, all converted since the Cultural Revolution in the 1950s. This is a massive revival that is still going strong today. South Korea is now officially one quarter ‘born-again’ having only embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ just over 100 years ago, and Indonesia is estimated to be one-third Christian now. Brazil, Argentina and a number of Africa countries - most notably Nigeria -  have also seen massive growth in the numbers embracing the Christian faith. One research company estimates that in a single year earlier this century some 10 million people became Christians in Africa. There are even stories about the underground church in Iran beginning to explode in number.

The West may have become more cold to God over recent years, but it seems we are increasingly out of step with the rest of the world where revival fires continue to burn.

And who knows? Europe may yet see another mighty move of God. Trying to live life without God tends to leave people dissatisfied and thirsting for something more.

The bible is clear about it: if Christians humble themselves, live clean lives and pray then God will hear their cry and bring healing into the land (2 Chronicles 7:14).