The pink-gray cloudbank in the east is brightening as I drive my car into the nearly empty General Conference parking lot. A handful of church employees have also arrived early at the church’s world headquarters, perhaps, like me, to find some moments of quiet before the corridors fill with people and the committee rooms crowd with business. As I sit in my car for an extra long minute, waiting for the day to dawn, the words of the old hymn float up:
The morning light is breaking, the darkness disappears;
The sons of earth are waking, to penitential tears …
There is everywhere in this place just now a sense of new things dawning, a heightened sense that God may use the coming months to powerfully renew His remnant church—in this place and in a hundred thousand other places. Conversations in our hallways always lean this direction, as though one and the same Spirit is moving through the hearts of dozens, even hundreds, of individuals. Committee meetings begin, not only with the customary invocation of God’s presence, but with extended times of praying with and for each other. Agendas are being rearranged—not because they lacked either clarity or strategic merit in their earlier versions, but to align the work we do with the growing awareness that God has in mind the renewing of His church.
We do well to be attentive, both in prayer and in the necessary policies. It is always Jesus’ intention that His people live revived lives, that we tune our hearts to the Spirit’s frequencies, that we experience uncommon love, uncommon joy, and uncommon power in our work and witness. When believers anywhere pray for revival and reformation among us, we are not asking Him to do something He is at all reluctant to do. No, this is what He always wants: increased prayerfulness; deeper sympathies for those He urges us to call “brother” and “sister”; longer listening; shorter speaking.
Our life together—in families, in congregations large and small, in classrooms and dormitories, in church administrative offices—is on the verge of something greater in the months ahead than we have yet known or experienced. And the sky that is brightening in the morning of revival will soon—very soon—be darkened by just one cloud—a small one, about the size of a man’s hand, on which the Son of Man returns to claim His own.