One beautiful example of revival took place twenty years ago, and its story began with one ill-equipped couple, Mark and Gloria Zook. Ironically, their story began with a call heard only by them. No one else seemed to hear it, nor to believe that they had heard it. Mission board after mission board refused to accept their applications, saying they were too old and not healthy enough to be missionaries. Finally, their home church responded to their call and sent them under their leadership.
Once they began living with the New Guinea tribe, the Zooks spent months chronologically telling the stories of the Old Testament, pointing out all the foreshadowing moments of Christ. When they got to the part of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, they ended the day’s storytelling with Isaac on the altar. They waited to the next day to tell the ending.
The people pondered and discussed what they thought would happen. Four different men came to Mr. Zook and said, “Abraham was a godly man, so he must obey God. God promised a savior through Isaac, so Isaac must be spared. God will send a substitute lamb.” It was this story that made the connection when the Zooks taught the New Guinea tribe about the crucifixion and resurrection. They understood that Jesus was the substitute Lamb. When this truth sank in, something truly amazing happened. All among the people, various ones began to shout “EE-Taow,” which means, “It is true! It is very true and good!” Though normally a reserved people, spontaneous celebration broke out among the people, which lasted for two and a half hours. They laughed and shouted “EE-Taow” over and over. They picked up Mr. Zook, the one rejected by mission boards as “too old and too sick” for ministry, and they carried him in celebration on their shoulders.
EE-Taow! It is true! The story of Jesus and His love is true! We may not react in the same way, but we, too, can experience revival! We may be too reserved to jump up and down, but I at least want you to feel that on the inside. EE-Taow! It is true! And what are we going to do about it? We can be used to ignite the fires of revival in our country. As my friend the Reverend Maxie Dunnam says, “It is not great men who change the world, but weak men in the hands of a great God.” Are you willing to bring your weakness to our great God? Are you willing to be revived?
I shared this at a women’s retreat last year. As I spoke, I pictured the scene in New Guinea and felt myself getting emotional and thought I had better end it quickly. I quickly ended by saying, “EE-Taow! It’s true! And what are we going to do about it?” Then I invited anyone who wanted to pray to come to the hallway to pray with one of the prayer team members. I watched an eighty-year-old woman hobble over to one of the prayer team members, and fall into her arms. She was crying and saying over and over, “What are we going to do about it? What are we going to do about it?” Eighty years old and still pressing on, wanting to be used, wanting to be revived.
We need to know: It’s not over till it’s over. And it’s not over until God says it’s over. And until that day comes when He calls us home, we should spend all of our best energy doing whatever He calls us to do in reaction to the truth that He lives and He forgives.
Just as Paul prayed for his beloved Ephesian brothers and sisters, so I pray for you, my dear friends, this verse:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.