Thursday, August 15, 2013

Underneath that Tent

My bare shoulders and legs were no match for the crisp Autumn air that had finally reached my home up on the hill but I kept walking towards the old cabin. A smile had found my face as the thought of HIS perfection surrounded me this morning. HE knew all along...

I found myself inside two different revivals within the past seven days. As I got ready for each one, I thought of old fashioned tent revivals. I just don't see those anymore and I longed for the excitement, the anticipation of being a child and walking into one of those...but I never got to. We always drove past the large white tents full of folding metal chairs and my eyes never saw what really happens underneath the tent. As a child I used to wonder why they needed so many seats because each time we drove past one after it had already begun, everyone was always standing, you could hear their shouts from the road and the multitude just spilled from the sides of the huge canvas top. But HE knew all along...

As I sat on a pew of church not far from my own, there was the most unusual voice that rang out, one I had never heard before. He carried a single voice but it sounded like a thousand and I immediately placed myself inside a tent revival and pretended the man's voice reached beyond the four walls and spilled from the sides, right onto the road outside where a child riding past could hear, and plant that longing inside her, she would carry for years to come, and HE knew all along...

Last night, I found myself on another pew even farther down the road from my home church. We knew of the preacher that was leading the services and my child and I, along with my dear friend found our way to this meeting. Again, I longed for an old fashioned tent revival. The large church with echoing footsteps upon the hardwood floors made me miss my little country church that had already started their Wednesday night service by the time my Bible was placed on a random pew. A little anxious, I looked at my friend as this church seemed to swallow us whole, and confirm that I didn't see the preacher we had thought we were coming to hear. I reminded myself that I had come to Worship, and the particulars of the evening should not interfere with that. I looked around the large room and echoes from voices filled the air but my friend said to me, "It's okay. We are exactly where we are supposed to be." And she was right, no matter who preached, no matter who sang, we were supposed to be there, and HE knew all along...

As soon as the songs began, I could hear that voice again. It sounded so much like the one from the other revival but a quick search of the front of the church revealed the man wasn't there...just his voice, the voice of a thousand. The Lord placed that comfort within me on purpose and a smile crossed my face. HE knew. Song after song rang out and though the voices were all different, the words were familiar and have been heard in my own little country church. My mouth moved silently as the singers stood but the words were ringing loudly from my heart and only HE could hear them. There were so many people from so many different churches and it didn't take long for the walls to fall. It seemed I had been placed right in the middle of a large white tent and there were no boundaries. Soon the preacher stood and I recognized him as the one I had expected but there was no need for relief by this point. I knew I was where I needed to be no matter who stood. But HE knew all along...

I listened to the preacher speak truth. His straining voice didn't try to sugar coat the words as he spoke of "this day"...not tomorrow or yesterday, just "this day". He went on to speak of us, our roles as Christians and said, "It's time for you to feed somebody else." That really hit home with me as I have often entered The Lord's House hungry. I've taken, I've been fed, but there comes a time, when you need to feed others. As the revival came to a close, I could still see the white of the roof over my head but there were people everywhere and the multitude began to spill. The Altar was flooded and I saw a young man in his plaid shirt, sitting with the other youth up front. He didn't just drop to The Altar, he dove. My eyes filled with tears as another young man grabbed tightly to the one sitting near him and they too dove down and buried their faces low. Within seconds, I could feel The Spirit as HE stood at the front of the church at The Altar with HIS arms outstretched as wide as the church. It felt like The Spirit moved very fast from front to back with one clean sweep and everyone was shouting, weeping, raising their hands or smiling. There were no walls because we needed to spill. There were people to feed outside of that church and HE knew all along when HE put us all together that The Spirit would visit, sweep across the multitude so we would just spill right out into the world. HE gave us all jobs to do last night, and I'm still smiling and crying at the same time. I am very Blessed this morning that HE knew all along.