Ending The Drought (2023 Asbury Revival)
By Geoff Eckart • Founder & CEO, Never The Same • Grand Rapids, Michigan
In February of 2021 our world was 1 year into experiencing the effects of Covid. At this time I was drawn into the biblical story of 1 Kings 17-18. This story introduces us to Elijah, the lone prophet who had bad news for Ahab, the King of Israel. He informs the King that it wouldn’t rain until he prayed that it would. And the rain stopped.
The reality of this drought had an eerily similar effect in Israel to what we experienced in our world: it shut down their society. People’s lives and livelihoods suddenly were unstable and the world became wildly unpredictable. In an agricultural society, the absence of rain didn’t just jeopardize their work, it became a risk to their very life. Water was everything to their very existence. Imagine…one season without rain and crops. Then a second year. Then a third season. It’s tough to think how many were able to find ways to survive. I’m sure it seemed in the middle of this as if the drought would never end.
But after 3 years, it finally ended.
I sensed the LORD speaking to me in February of 2021 that this story would parallel our time. I felt strongly in February of 2021 that we were only 1 year into this societal and spiritual “drought.” Before I saw and sensed the parallel to this story I believed that this Covid craziness would certainly end at any moment. The thought of this dragging on another year or even two seemed beyond comprehension. But as we know now it did. It was nowhere near over.
Let’s look at another angle. Let’s go back in time to late January/early February of 2020.
As a part of the National Prayer Committee, we held our annual gathering on January 29-31, 2020. One of our guest speakers was Jeanine Brabon, a college student in 1970 at Asbury who was the prayer catalyst for what is known as the Asbury Revival that began on February 3, 1970. As she shared intimate details of how it all unfolded, the room was filled with the presence of God in a way I have never experienced before. A few days later at Asbury, we were with Jeanine on campus on February 3, 2020 for the 50 year anniversary of this amazing event.
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In those moments, God filled us with faith that America was about to be shaken in a spiritual revival. The feeling was almost palpable.
Then in a Divine and shocking plot twist that we could have never imagined in our wildest dreams, the world shut down just a few days later. And in a way, our drought began.
Over the next 3 years, our churches emptied. Our streets became filled with protests. Many Christ followers and ministry leaders wondered how the Church would survive this onslaught. Many churches and ministries didn’t survive.
Then hope arrived on February 8, 2023, in the form of an ordinary chapel on a small Christian University campus in Wilmore, KY. This outpouring is currently spilling over into hundreds of college campuses and thousands upon thousands of gatherings, churches, and all kinds of venues.
Almost 3 years to the day, something happened we could have never imagined. God showed up and He is roaring over and through Generation Z. I believe this signals the end of our drought. Only God knows how this will shape the future, but make no mistake, the Asbury Revival has shaken our nation and God’s Spirit is filling new wineskins for a new generation!
Geoff Eckart is the Founder & CEO of Never The Same. Never The Same provides immersive experiences, practical resources, and missional initiatives for individual students, local church youth ministries, and adult youth workers. They have a vision of seeing new generations transformed in Christ to further the Kingdom of God. Never The Same’s mission is cultivating the lives of students through Biblical Discipleship and Spiritual Disciplines using Theology, Community, and Technology.