I have just returned from a significant trip to a distant place and witnessed first-hand a wonderful supernatural manifestation among a group of refugees. It has changed me. My eyes have seen the glory of the Lord, and my life will never be the same. I have not sensed such a powerful presence of Jesus in a church conference in a long time. Here are some of the things I learned.
First, this group of people was not seeking God. They were not seeking revival. God found them in the midst of dire circumstances, and when they turned to God because of their desperate situation, it brought them severe persecution. Because of their new found faith in Christ, (the majority of them have been Christians ten years or less,) they lost everything: family, possessions, and positions. These young people (most of them were in their twenties) were driven out of their country with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their new faith in God. In losing it all, they have found everything in Christ.
Second, their pure passion and love for Christ is contagious. It’s been a long time since I have seen such pure worship from the heart. They do not have many of the props we use in our western churches to enhance our worship experience; they have no special lights and electronic effects. Even though their musical instruments were basic, but the worship was incredible, and they never wanted to stop. They worshiped like slaves who have been set free. They have found a new love in Jesus which is everything to them. Most of them have spent some time in prison because of their faith, but instead of dampening their enthusiasm, it only seems to have purified it. They love to worship!
Third, their love for the Word of God was overwhelming. They sat in rapt attention hanging on every word of the message. As the first Christians in their families, they were hearing things they’d never learned and simply couldn’t get enough. They never wanted me to stop speaking. When given the opportunity, they would bombard me with questions. It was one question after another, and they were good questions. Because they were so young, (I had the only white hair in the room.) they seemed to feel that I knew the answer to everything and this might be their last opportunity to ask me. How refreshing! It’s easy to teach hungry people.
Fourth, their response to the Word of God was awesome. (I apologize for using such big adjectives. It seems like I’m exaggerating, but the truth is there are no words to describe what I experienced. It was a God moment, heaven had kissed earth and we got caught in between!) When I would finish teaching and give them an opportunity to pray; pray they did. They were not loud and boisterous; in fact, the majority of them prayed quietly, but tearfully. I saw a lot of tears. The thing which struck me the deepest was the way each one seemed to take the Word of God so seriously for themselves. They took what they’d heard to heart and asked God to make it a part of their lives.
Fifth, because they have escaped from a nation which violently opposes Christianity, they believe they have religious freedom in the country where they reside as refugees. It was comical to witness the difference between the refugees and the native Christians. The native believers of this country live under constant pressure from a non-Christian government. But, because of the negative experiences they’d experienced in their home country, these refugees think what they have is freedom. This makes them very bold in their witness to others. They aren’t hiding; rather they’re sharing Jesus with anyone who would listen.
This revival which is taking place right now among these refugees should teach us a lot of lessons. Their pastor is a young woman who uses a bicycle for transportation but hundreds of people are looking to her for spiritual guidance. They meet in a simple fourth story apartment building with only a stairway access. Each week they’re packing hundreds of people into three small simple rooms which needed major renovation to restore them from years of use. What a far cry from the modern buildings we call churches and the celebrity status of so many ministers in our western world. We have a lot to learn from these new Christians.
It’s a shame that so many people have to lose everything natural to gain everything spiritual, but that’s human nature. When things are going well, we forget that every good thing comes from God, and instead of our blessings causing us to seek God, they tend to lull us to sleep spiritually. We forget every good and perfect gift comes down from above, and think we deserve our blessings because we are such good and smart people. May God forgive us. God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and so many people in professing to become wise have become fools. I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have just received to experience a powerful move of God among a simple people.