For many of us, one of our greatest desires would be to see God move in our churches, communities and cities. This is something we often pray and believe for – and there is no doubt, it is God’s heart to come and move amongst us.
Recently I was on a flight from Bangkok to Sydney, I’d already been in transit for about 30 hours, was relatively tired, and ready to get home. As I boarded the plane, walked down the aisle, I found my seat firmly situated amongst a family group of 13 people. 2 grandparents (who I was sitting next to), their 3 adult children and respectively spouses, plus 5 kids/grandkids, 3 of which were newborns.
For anyone who’s travelled, you know this isn’t a good situation and not really how you want to spend the last 10 hours of your 3 week holiday. Yet, very quickly I realised something, and by the end of the flight, I counted it a privilege to witness. This family was beautiful, every single one of them, from the eldest to the youngest – was there crying? yes. Was there a lot of movement? yes. Did one of the young mums vomit? yes. But amongst it all was a beautiful and sweet spirit.
As we were flying over Sydney and getting ready to land, I began speaking to the grandma, and to no surprise at all, this family turned out to be Christian (not that that always means your family is perfect), but it should definitely count for something – and for this family, it did.
Afterwards, I was reminded of the following scripture:
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Malachi 4:5-6 NIV
This scripture is painting a very clear picture of the importance and necessity of family in the world today. It’s telling us that for a large majority of the world, the hearts of parents and children have been turned away from each other. The question then begs, who is this new ‘Elijah’ that Malachi was speaking of?
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.
Matthew 11:12-14 NIV
It was John the Baptist.
And what was John the Baptist’s message?
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
Matthew 3:1-3 NIV
John the Baptist’s mandate was to prepare a way for the Lord.
To turn the hearts of parents and children back to each other.
To reunite and restore the family.
To bring reconciliation between the older generation and the younger.
He did this by calling people to repent, to turn away from themselves and back towards God and others.
I have discovered that as the old and the young turn towards each other, honour each other and value what each generation brings to the table, there is a great release of God’s blessing and grace. A way is prepared for the Lord.
We all want to see God move in our churches, our communities and our cities. I believe as we turn towards each other, mend broken relationships and walk with mutual honour for those around us, we may get a glimpse of true revival – God with us, like I witnessed him being with the family I was surrounded by on the plane.
In honour of this post, here’s one of the greatest family reconciliation scenes in cinematic history!
Hope this has helped!