Perhaps we look at such people and think our lives will never achieve the same significance. But what if we could, just in a different way.
We are recipients of a spiritual legacy passed down over the centuries by countless people who have pursued a relationship with God.
Some of them became so passionate in this search that history records what happened to them and the world around them as a result.
In the 1600s, Brother Lawrence — a monk whose main duty in life was to wash dishes for the other monks — had such an experience with God that people travelled from all over Europe just to be around him. Kings, rulers, peasants and people from every walk of life came to sit in his kitchen and be with him as he washed dishes. When they were around him they experienced God too.
In the 1700s, Count Nikolaus Von Zinzendorf started a prayer meeting in his castle after experiencing the presence of God. This prayer meeting lasted day and night for 100 years without stopping once. Thousands of people came and went within that time and many were inspired to become missionaries around the world.
The Isle of Lewis, in 1949, experienced transformation on the whole island after a few people began to ask God every day to change their community. Atheist ‘hard’ fishermen encountered the truth and love of Jesus overnight, among many others. There is not one recorded case of anyone going away from their newfound faith in Jesus.
More recently in 1995, Cali, Columbia saw many people gather to pray. Soon after, thousands began to come to faith in Jesus; the drug cartel in the area collapsed, and corruption dropped so much it made international news.
Revival in its simplest definition is transformation: turning from our own ways and turning to God.
The change of our hearts alters our behaviour, joy and peace increases, and awareness of relationship with God produces love for Him and other people. This renewal makes history even though it may not reach mainstream media or the history archives.
Instead, His story — the story of Jesus, is recorded for eternity in hearts. Sometimes thousands at a time. Those changed are normal people, just like us, who are willing to ask God for help, trust Him and believe that He can impact their world. When God shows up in response to this trust, everything changes.
Perhaps today can be our turn to write the next chapter of revival history.