Saturday, August 18, 2012
Earlier in the summer, we went to the Millennium Theater in Lancaster, PA, and saw their production, "Jonah." The Theater is well-known for quality performances and usually plays to sold-out audiences.
We had good seats and enjoyed the colorful, musical play showing the story of the famous prophet who was swallowed by a great fish. The most impressive and touching aspect of the story, however, was when Jonah preached a message of repentance to the people of Nineveh -- and they repented. Seeing their repentance actually portrayed by actors on the stage made the whole thing come alive in a way I'd never quite imagined.
Sometimes I read verses on the pages of scripture and fail to imagine the deeper impact of what really happened. When I saw that deeper impact fleshed out on stage, I began to weep. I'd never before actually imagined all those hundred thousand plus people as individuals who so quickly repented of their sins and turned to God. This huge number of people turned to God within a period of less than forty days. To think of that many people who were known for evil hearing the gospel, repenting and turning to God is a miracle of vast proportions.
When I saw individuals on the stage -- men and women from all walks of life -- turning to God in record numbers and in record time, I was overwhelmed. Because, this was not a fairy tale and this was not an exaggeration -- this was what really happened to a vast city of people and those people are in heaven today because of one man who preached the gospel to them. That one man, Jonah, was a reluctant witness, but in the end, he obeyed God and God used him to bring glory to His Holy Name.
Besides the fact that when God touches people's hearts, great revival can occur, it also shows me that God can use anyone to fulfill His will. We don't have to be perfect Christians -- we just have to be obedient Christians to be used to accomplish great things for Christ.
God says, "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice..." 1 Samuel 15:22