Sunday, May 6, 2018

To See ... To Hear ...Introduction to Leonard Ravenhill book

Today we live in a time when we know everything and yet know nothing. 
It is a time when we have all the answers but nothing works.
It is a time when we need to find God afresh.

Somehow it was brought to my attention words which I had written a decade ago as an introduction to the Spanish translation of my father's book, Why Revival Tarries.
I quote them again here.

Have  things changed for the better now in the intervening years?


Beyond the visible lies the invisible.
Beyond the known extends the unknown.
Beyond the path trodden stretches the unexplored.
Beyond all the emptiness of the enemy lies the substance of God.
There are those in our midst who have seen, known and walked where others have not, and we do well to pay them heed.

My father's life stretched across the twentieth century, from seven years after its commencement until six years before its end.
At the time of his birth the kingdoms and empires of Europe existed as they had for generations.
Communist dominion and the World Wars were as yet unknown, and as his life unfolded he saw all these things come to birth and later die.
The world wars and the efforts of mankind to forge an enduring peace and a world of democracy ran their weary course, and failed before he reached his final rest.

He saw perhaps the beginning of the end - not the dawning of a new day but the falling of the night that precedes the dawn.
He saw the birth of a time without answers; a time when the old systems ceased to function and the new was yet unborn - a time of chaos, without form and empty.

He saw this kaleidoscope of change, and forcing his spiritual vision, his eyes were open to see the forces which operated around him.
Participating in a measure with He who sees the end from the beginning he was quickened to see the emptiness and fruitlessness of human schemes and projects, before they had ever reached their end.

This was the vision which made him what he was.
There could be no hesitation, no turning.
As I have said before, his religion was of the heart, the realm where the Spirit quickens life.
Other sources could not satisfy and produced within him a pain, a contempt and a weariness.
For him only the heart was important, and the only source that could minister to the heart of man was the Spirit of God; everything else was at enmity.
All the limits that reason, society or human weakness could present, were to be attacked without mercy.

He was fully alert to the world of mankind, the world of man's government and man's ambition, and yet he was awake also to the world of God and things unchangeable and eternal.

The vision of a man is born in a place apart.
John the Baptist from outside Jerusalem, from the desert, proclaimed his message to those steeped in their tradition. 
So in a way, the author of these pages spoke, from outside the comfort of the church's activities and its programs, with a message from a different place.

That which is seen by revelation is difficult to transmit to others.
Physical vision comes through the eyes and is interpreted by the mind.
A seeing person can invite another to look, but he can never transmit to a blind person what he has seen.
So in the realm of the spirit, beyond the mind and beyond emotions, that which is of the heart demands vision in the hearer if it is to be perceived.
Somewhere along the way there must be a quickening of the spirit.

There are things which are spiritually discerned or not discerned at all.
Throughout the years my father ministered in many churches, denominations, Christian organizations and to a multitude of individuals.
Many only perceived the external shell of his message, and yet left convinced that they had heard, and knew what Leonard Ravenhill's vision was.

So many times the message was lost to the hearers.
Perhaps it was because they never really wanted to know, and they were of those who hear the words without taking action.
Perhaps they were of those whose knowledge comes from the teachings of men; who were never quickened to see the things of God's kingdom.

The flame which converts the pool of gasoline into an uncontainable flame is useless when applied to water.
We need to draw near to any message from God leaving our own ideas behind. We need to draw near to any messenger sent from God, with a desire to stand where he has stood and to see what he has seen.

Only in this way can the message be transmitted to us and become life within us.

Let us pray with the psalmist, "Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold."