Simple obedience to God always changes history! It always bears the most fruit. Anything more is often a detour to some hard lessons and a few hard knocks eventually leading back to simple obedience.
I was recently driving across Wales with my wife and several good friends. We were going to see some of the key places where the Welsh Revival broke out in 1904.
After having read about this revival for many years, I was greatly anticipating what we would glean from seeing the places where it happened.
One often hopes for some significant encounters with Jesus or a dramatic experience in the Holy Spirit during a trip like this. I can definitely say that was the case, though it turned out differently than I might have expected.
The Welsh countryside is beautiful, full of rolling hills and thousands of white sheep dotting many shades of green pastureland. The land seems sleepy but just below the serene surface is a history of some of the greatest revivals in the last several centuries.
The Power of Simple Heart-felt Decisions
The last chapel we visited was actually the first of many places to experience a mini-outpouring of the Spirit. It was a small coastal town called New Quay on the North Coast.
It was here that a young teen named Florrie Evans first made a confession in front of all of her friends that would hit the hearts of young people all across Wales like a mighty earthquake.
We may never know the impact our simple statements might make.
Florrie was quite shy. More importantly than that, she had never truly taken a stand that Jesus was her Lord and that she would follow Him, alone. At the invitation of her pastor she stood and before all of her peers declared, “I love the Lord Jesus with all of my heart.”
If one could have seen into the spiritual realm that night they would have seen demons shudder and angels rejoice, for only heaven could have known the impact that those simple words would have on more than 100,000 people who would soon make similar declarations.
Even in the physical realm, these words had massive impact as many testified to the power of the Spirit tangibly felt as she made her declaration. This moment would be the testimony of Florrie and would also serve to inspire the well known catalyst of the revival, Evan Roberts.
Never Stop Declaring What You Know To Be True
Weeks later another significant event took place about 45 minutes West of New Quay.
In a seemingly abandoned chapel we found a small plaque that showed the very seat Evan Roberts sat in as he heard the words of a faithful “firebrand” preaching to the congregation. The man preaching was Seth Joshua. At a 7 a.m. service, Joshua was sharing with all of his might the need for a move of God in Wales to convert the hardest of sinners and revive the church. He declared that they were in great need to have the Lord “bend us” to His will and His desires.
That simple message, probably spoken many times, would become the very war cry of the revival soon to sweep the whole land. The fire would even spread to many nations, including America’s own significant Azusa Street revival.
Young Evan was struck by Joshua’s words. Several hours later when the congregation returned for another message, Evan could contain his zeal no longer.
Evidently, much to the frustration of Seth Joshua, Evan interrupted the meeting with shouts of “Bend us oh God, bend us oh God!”
Could Seth Joshua possibly have known what would happen because of his faithful zeal-filled preaching? Never stop declaring the simple truths the Holy Spirit has burdened your heart with! Seth’s obedience paid off and the deposit in Evan’s heart that day would lead to such an overflow of hunger and desire to be “bent” towards the will of God that literally 100,000 people would bend the knee to Jesus!
The Simple Gospel has Profound Impact
The most famed of the Welsh Revival spots would most certainly be Moriah Chapel just outside of Swansea on the southern coast of Wales. At first we did not think we would be able to get into this famed revival headquarter. But the keeper of the church just happened to be cleaning that night.
We walked through the doors of this chapel that once overflowed with so many hungry people that meetings were moved outside. The inside was simple and beautiful. It did not require great imagination to see the place as it might have been in those days; every seat full; every window with onlookers; the balcony overflowing and songs filling the chapel that would make any grown man cry.
The Welsh Revival was known as “The Singing Revival” as thousands of songs were written in response to God’s love and power moving on hearts and lives. Etched on a plaque outside the church was a replica of a note that Evan had written.
“Dear Friend,” it read, “God loves you, therefore, seek Him diligently, pray to Him earnestly, read His Word constantly.”
The Welsh Revival was not the result of a “new” revelation or a flashy speaker. A move of God did not come because the people discovered a hidden truth or because they found a new key to reviving the church and reaching the lost. The Welsh Revival was the result of simple people simply obeying Jesus.
Never underestimate the power of simple obedience and faithfulness over years to the Word of the Lord. There is much that is out of our control but this we can do. Never give up on pursuing Jesus; never give up on declaring truth; never give up in obeying and above all never stop believing that Jesus loves us and desires to revive us! He is revival.
Never give up and never give into a lie that the Gospel is complicated or that revival is a confusing formula! Revival is a Man and the Man has made Himself known! Let us seek Him simply, passionately and faithfully!