Jesus is knocking to ask for more room in the church which he bought with his own blood, writes Eric Gaudion (pictured above, inset, in a photo of the Asbury revival).
It was barely light as I eased myself into the front row of chairs in the church where I served as senior pastor. I had come down to the building to be alone, and to cry out to God from my heart without disturbing the rest of the house.
I was done with regular church, fed up with mediocrity and routine, longing for a breath from heaven. Church services felt much more like roundabouts to me than motorways. It was a great church, thriving in fact, but I felt we were going nowhere significant. I was longing for God to move again among us by his Spirit.
I was aware that we were children of revival. Our great church owed its existence to the amazing scenes that had surrounded the early Elim evangelistic teams. The remarkable healings, and dynamic testimonies of life-changing power encounters, had become more than foundation stones. Like Samuel’s stone at Ebenezer (1 Sam 7:12), which he set up saying ‘thus far has the Lord helped us’, they pointed back to the interventions of God and forward to fresh experiences.
We had a name for being a centre of Pentecostal life. People talked about our past in hushed tones. But perhaps, like the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2), we had left our first love.
I reflected on the height from which we had fallen and realised that no church has a guarantee of burning brightly in the future unless its lamp remains full of oil and is well tended. There is no church in Ephesus today.
And so I cried out to God. “Lord will you please move again in our day as you did in days gone by?”
Salty tears flowed and my prayer became a sob. I longed for God to show up, for Jesus to be the centre of everything we did as a Christian community. For the Holy Spirit to fill and conquer young lives like he has done recently at Asbury in the US. I wanted God to move powerfully.
In the half-light of that early dawn, I sensed a stirring in my spirit. Hope began to rise from behind the clouds of my desperation, peeking through the emerging understanding of my limited experience. I heard no physical voice, but I knew that God was speaking to me: “Make room for me to move!”
Now my tears became hot with shame and repentance. We had become so busy as a church! And I was so heavily invested in works of service that we had failed to make room for the Lord of the church! He was standing outside the door, not of the heart of the unrepentant sinner, as is so often the interpretation of Revelation 3:20 and Hunt’s painting of the ‘Light of the World’, but the door of his own distracted people.
I was broken by the revelation. Jesus is gently knocking to ask for more room in the church which he bought with his own blood.
I looked around me at all the marvellous paraphernalia of postmodern worship. The comfortable sanctuary focused on its well-designed stage, criss-crossed with cables and music stands ready to bless and impress next Sunday morning. And I thought of the magnificent temple where the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud of the awesome presence of God that filled the building (1 Kings 8:11).
That day I determined to make room for the King of Kings. In the words of Helen Yousaf’s powerful song, ‘And I will make room for you, to do whatever you want to do’.
Today, if you hear his voice, make room.
• Eric Gaudion is a retired Elim pastor in Guernsey and has been a missionary in Zimbabwe and Seychelles. He is married to Diane. His latest book is ‘Through the Storms; a manual for when life hurts’.