Personal Revival | Christina Del Carmen

 
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Revival of the Heart

During Thanksgiving break, my parents and I were able to visit our family in Vegas. My grandpa was his usual self— kind and loving, yet notably forgetful this visit. When he forgot my name on multiple occasions, I knew something was wrong. When my parents discussed their concern of about my grandpa having dementia, I didn’t want to face this disheartening possibility. In my discouragement I asked God, “How can my grandpa understand the depths of Your love for him, when he is starting to forget who he is?”.

I was met with more heartbreak on Thanksgiving Day, when some of my family chose isolation and drug use over spending time together. I was reminded that as broken people we often return to familiar remedies, although they may be toxic in nature. The reality that only God could change these circumstances sunk in and left me seemingly defenseless.

Upon returning home, the heaviness in my spirit brought me to my knees during our volunteer prayer meeting for Sunday Nights Bible Study. I began to pray, but I was overcome with anguish and could only weep as I was unable to express the burden I felt for my family. As the team wrapped around me in these moments, my spirit broke in a new way for those who do not know God and for those dead in their faith.

God brought me more revelation on loving my family through Pastor Josh’s message on love that night. Pastor Josh taught on how we, as people of God, ought to love others more than they love us. He probed further as he asked us these convicting questions: “Is your love for others deep, as in unconditional, or dependent? Is it dependent on an apology, on progress, on work, or on performance?”. As these questions exposed me, I wept over my fickleness and resolve to only pursue my family with certain contingencies. I could not go on loving others dependently and expect reciprocation in light of the cross. I asked myself how could I receive Jesus’ unconditional deep love for me, yet refrain from loving others in the same way?

The concept of loving my family to the extent of getting hurt, even if they do not choose God or choose to love me back is the revival that I am witnessing in my own heart. Through these recent revelations, I’m starting to understand that revival is birthed in blood, sweat, and tears, but yields the most beautiful and praiseworthy work. It means remaining broken hearted over those who do not know God and being diligent in laboring over those that need Him. But first and foremost, revival begins at the heart.

Seeking Jesus and revival is an others-oriented practice, but don’t be surprised when God begins the upheaval process in your own heart first. Personal revival is yours for the taking. As I stand at the end of myself, I’ve learned that Jesus’ love is more relentless than the effects of dementia and more potent than the strongest drug. Only God’s love is powerful enough to overcome all disease, addiction, fear, bondage, and sin. His love is the only antidote to humanity’s brokenness.

 
Christina Del Carmen