God at Work

The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.   Psalms 85:12

In 1860 in Worcester, South Africa, a remarkable thing happened in the Moeder Kerk. The assistant minister, J. C. de Vries was leading a service, when shortly after it had begun, a servant girl began to cry out to the Lord in anguished prayer. Tears coursed down her cheeks as she confessed her sin and pleaded for forgiveness. Then, the sound of distant thunder was heard, like a train on the edge of the town, coming closer and closer, until it enveloped the hall and shook the building. At this point the whole congregation burst into prayer together, the majority audibly, a minority in whispering tones.

An unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit seemed to be taking place. Andrew Murray, the senior minister, was immediately notified and hastened over to the church where he found everyone engaged in prayer. The people seemed to be distressed with soul anguish, mourning their sin, grieving from a deep inner agony, weeping tears of repentance, and, as they continued they cried to God for mercy, begged for deliverance, and prayed for friends and loved ones. Andrew Murray didn’t know what to make of this unusual happening and thought it was confusion. He walked up and down among the distressed and praying people shouting: “Bly stil mense, bly stil … ek is jou dominee … bly stil.” Which translated means, “Be quiet, be quiet, I’m your minister, be quiet.”

But no one took the slightest notice of the minister. Each seemed more concerned with calling on God for forgiveness of an intolerable weight of sin and shame. Eventually, Andrew Murray shook his head and walked out.

In contrast, de Vries, convinced and overwhelmed by the movement of God’s Spirit, remained in prayer with the people. The meetings continued day after day. Each meeting began with a profound silence, but as soon as the meeting was opened the people burst into simultaneous prayer and petition. Night after night the place was shaken and meetings often went on until 3:00 a.m. as the people were reluctant to disperse for sleep. It was during this time that an American in the congregation approached Andrew Murray and said, “Dominee be at peace, God is in control, this is not confusion, this is revival … this is God at work among His people.”

O how I pray for a similar movement of God’s Spirit. My hope is for rejoicing to spread across the land such as we’ve never seen before. Can it happen? Most definitely. The Lord forgives the iniquity of His people, covers all their sins, puts away His displeasure toward us, and grants us salvation (cf. Psalm 85:2,4,7). For when God is at work among His people He indeed gives “what is good” Psalm 85:12.

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