My husband, Bill, loves to preach about the power of continuing. We are in this move of the Spirit partly because of Bill’s tenacity. He simply stuck it out in one place of ministry for eighteen years. During our first year, we read that the average longevity of a pastor in our former denomination was eighteen months. We knew then that whatever challenges we experienced would only be repeated in another location by the “same people with different faces on” had we relocated.
By 1993 I was totally discouraged. The challenges had overwhelmed me. So often I had wondered if we were in the wrong place. Did God want us to strike out in faith? Maybe we needed different faces to preach to? Would another ground be softer, more ready to receive? What we found out in 1994 after our first trip to Toronto was that God had positioned us for the blessing of a lifetime. It’s been going on here, too, for over seven years now.
Bill likes to point to the scripture in II Kings 13 where the king of Israel makes a final visit to Elisha who is dying. “My father, my father,” the king cried, “the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” In other words, what’s to become of us?
Elisha told him to open the window and shoot an arrow. As Elisha held his hands over the king’s, they shot the arrow together. “It’s the Lord’s arrow of victory,” Elisha declared. Then Elisha told the king to do something strange. “Take the arrows from your quiver and strike the ground.” Timidly the king struck the ground
three times and stopped. “Why did you stop?” Elisha cried. “If only you had struck the ground five or six times, you would have totally defeated the enemy! But now you will only strike the enemy three times.” What makes the difference between victory and defeat? Continuing to do what God tells you to do even if it seems ridiculous.
For seven years I’ve watched the church in Toronto host the presence of the Holy Spirit. While some in the Church in ’94 declared that what they had been given was insignificant and would amount to nothing, Toronto took what they had been given and kept “striking the ground.” Today, eight years later, they are still hosting nightly renewal meetings and conferences attended by thousands. They have seen nearly 40,000 first-time converts and scores of miraculous healings. Over 100,000 desperate pastors have received restoration of a first-love passion for Jesus and taken the blessing home to faraway nations.
What if they had given up after six months and said, “Well, I guess that’s all God wants to do?” I for one along with all the members of our church would have missed the blessing. There would definitely be no fruit on our vine, and I wonder if I would even be in the ministry today.
This issue is devoted to the theme, “Keep Coming, Holy Spirit.” It’s about continuing. John Arnott shares about what it takes to experience all God has for you in “Embracing the Blessing.” Randy Clark reports on worldwide “River conditions” since 1994. Terry Bone, a local church pastor, describes how the Father’s blessing continues to revive their local church. There is also an excerpt from my new book, Keep Coming, Holy Spirit: Living in the Center of Revival, that tells what it means to keep the most important gift God gives you in revival. Maybe you’ll be encouraged to continue, too.
Originally Published January/February 2002 Editor Melinda Fish