Asbury University and its “Revival” has come to the forefront in recent days’ news reports, as we try to refocus our thinking away from nearby ecological disasters like the one in East Palestine, Ohio, (just a little too close for comfort from us), and a fire at a Doral recycling center (very near my family in Miami), … just to name two of a rash of similar occurrences this “Revival” news is distracting us from.
A recent column by a student at Asbury University who seemed to be asking what comes next for the faithful, got me thinking about my own college days when I covered Pope John Paul II’s visit to Miami in 1987 for the local Catholic newspaper. I felt a similar “Revival” energy in those days. Then, I graduated from college and started my “grown-up” life … where I worked nights at a newspaper across the state. By then, I had distanced myself from my church friends, my church, and my Way. I still said my list of prayers every night, but was I living my Faith? No.
I didn’t know then what I know now. A true “Revival” means a change of thinking and living. It’s a complete devotion mentality where you go full throttle on your Faith walk to BE Christ-like and live for God, where you go all-out in your life of living and walking your Faith, not only on Sundays and Feast Days or after your latest Confession with the Priest, but every day for the rest of your life.
Ash Wednesday is this week, the first day of Lent … In my Catholic upbringing, Lent was a time to change what is wrong with the way I was living. Sometimes, it’s simple. Like the time I needed to change how I felt about the town where I was living. I vowed that for forty days I would not think or say anything demeaning about the town. By Easter Sunday, I had found a love for the town, its people, and the wonderful opportunities there were to find more. I eventually taught at the college, and participated in the town’s community theater. All that started that Lent, when I changed my thinking. But those 40 days and nights of repentance shouldn’t end on Easter. That’s where I’ve gone wrong all of these years. Lent is only the beginning of the new you.
Especially at this time of year, as we recall Jesus’ 40 days in the desert where Satan tried to tempt Him, and the 40 days between Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, that time period is sprinkled throughout The Bible, oftentimes calling specifically for that time period to effect change:
- In Genesis 7:4, Noah was warned about the upcoming 40 days and nights of rain that were humanity’s punishment.
- In 1Kings, the prophet Elijah fasted 40 days on his way to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God (1 Kings 19:8).
- In 1Samuel, the Philistine soldier Goliath threatened the Israelites for 40 days before God sent the shepherd David to defeat Goliath against all odds. Through the 40-day trial, God tested the people and gave them an opportunity to strengthen in their faith. (1 Samuel 17)
- Ezekiel was told to lie on his right side for 40 days and nights to bear the sins of the people, (Ezekiel 4:5-6).
- Moses met with God on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights, and came back to his people with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24).
And then there’s Jonah (the man in the whale story). He was told by God to warm the people of Nineveh that they had been judged and would be overthrown. They had 40 days to repent. The people took the warning seriously, and after 40 days, God accepted their repentance and saved the people. (Jonah 3:4)
The Truth that I was not ready to accept in college I finally accepted in 2014, and my life changed drastically. In the years since my repentance, my personal baptism in Biscayne Bay, and my second baptism in the Pacific Ocean, my life is nothing like my life before.
I have gone through hardships I had never before expected, I am living a life I never before imagined, but, for the first time in my life, I am at peace. I am not hunting for fame or fortune or comfort, and yet I have never before felt such Soul Ease. I am not hunting for something or someone to make me feel right. I found that peace, that ease of heart, when I rededicated my life and became a servant of God with another devoted servant, David.
Repentance comes from pense (pensar in Spanish and penser in French) and means re-thinking, a change of mind or a change of thinking/thoughts.It basically means to Change your Mind!
Forty Days in the Desert, to me, is 40 days out of the world, devoted to repentance, devoted to a mind change. Unlike an addiction recovery program that sets the goal at 28 days to change the addiction, the Bible says the goal has to be 40 days to firmly establish that Repentance.
My heart is happy when I hear of another’s “Revival” experience, but I hope they move past their own awakening and take it to the next level.
Now is the time the “revival” comes home with them and these newly invigorated Christians take on their new lives, shunning the World and its sins, because even Jesus was tempted by the Devil, who jumps at the chance to tempt us at every turn.
One method we have learned is helpful in the process of Repentance is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is effective in helping one identify and change their thinking (*see definition of repentance)!
That’s how life-changing true Repentance must be. It’s not easy, but it is well worth the battle as we fight to rid ourselves of this fallen world and follow the True path set out for us by Christ in His teachings and His Be-ing. It means making a commitment to change and genuinely asking yourself,
What Would Jesus Do?
🤫(by the way, the answer’s in the Bible)
It’s a difficult process, as we grow and transform and learn to accept our new sense of being, living in the Truth, the Light, and the Way. (John 14:6)
🙏 To all on this path …. “may the odds be forever in your favor.”
The Dragonfly’s Student