Unseen Evidence

Posted on April 11, 2016 in Justice

When it comes to spiritual matters, visible evidence is highly unreliable.

My wife and I and many of our church and ministry team members attended the Azusa Now event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Fifteen hours of worship, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation between people groups and between denominations in the Body of Christ. Calling out for revival to break out even greater than what happened 110 years ago, the Azusa Street Revival that birthed the pentecostal stream of Christianity.

Years of planning, fasting and praying, and financial sacrifice on the part of the leaders and organizers had been invested. More than 100,000 people had registered to attend—free. Our expectations were high.

We arrived in the Coliseum area just before seven a.m. Foot and vehicle traffic were already heavy. It took more than an hour to get from the freeway exit into our parking area. My anticipation grew.

Rain was forecast for the day. The sky was heavy-laden. Still, people streamed in.

We settled into our seats close to 8:30. I’d guessed a thousand people were on the field and the stands were about one-quarter full By late morning the place would surely be packed.

It wasn’t.

Azusa Now video grab 700 px

Azusa Now, Los Angeles Coliseum 4-9-16

The stadium that, between the stands and field could have held 115,000 people, didn’t fill up. By my eyes, 50-60% tops.

The rain likely dampened attendance. We’d brought ponchos and the rain was intermittent and gentle and not an issue for us.

Many on the platform believed the rain was a prophetic sign. I and some others speculated the weather served as a winnowing of sorts, that the people who showed up were the “hungry ones.”

Did the empty seats matter?

Healing broke out. Three military veterans who’d lost their hearing from an IED explosion had theirs restored. Two wheelchair-bound people got up and walked. I wasn’t keeping track, but reports around the stadium and from the platform indicated dozens of miracle healings.

Most of the people on the field were young, enthusiastic worshipers, dancing before God.  Abandoned to joy.

Did the empty seats matter?

If God’s love is to transform the world, it will happen through people. There is no plan B.

Later in the evening, more than two hundred volunteers gathered outside the stadium to serve as prayer partners for people in attendance who responded to the invitation to receive Jesus. The plan to make prayer available wasn’t executed as intended. No one came.

Did it matter that no one came for prayer?

God was worshiped and glorified. A worldwide audience witnessed the event via live streaming and television. Many leaders believe a revival unlike any seen before was birthed. Lou Engle, the driving force behind the event, likened it to air power that provides cover for ground troops.

What will matter is what happens after Azusa Now. Leaders and teams are being mobilized in new ways. God is giving new visions of how to reach the world with His love.

John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, “Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

If God’s love is to transform the world, it will happen through people. There is no plan B.