I see what looks to be a ghost town, like in the American Southwest- maybe Arizona. Tumbleweeds blow through deserted streets. Weathered buildings without doors or glass in their windows stand open to the elements. It looks dusty, dry, deserted- but there’s also an eerie peace. It’s almost like the old town itself is remembering and smiling at days when its streets were filled with wagons and mules and horses and women and girls in calico and gingham bonnets and dresses, men in overalls and felt hats. There were sounds of commerce, laughter, life.
All gone now. The old town sits silent, full of memories and ghosts, hints and scents of a life that’s no longer there- laughter and shouts and jingling harness, braying donkeys, barking dogs.
What is this place, Lord?
It’s a place of memories but no life, of hints of activity that no longer takes place. You read this morning about My warning through My Apostle John to the church at Ephesus:
Revelation 2 New International Version (NIV)
To the Church in Ephesus
2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first……
First love had departed. There were still some commendable things, but when first love departs, too often what remains is form and structure without vitality and life. Memories that don’t reflect present reality. It can happen in cultures, in churches, in marriages, in nations, in businesses. There are reminders of the life that once existed-streets and buildings, structures and fountains in the town square that no longer flow with water.
Beware of the slow fade, of the loss of life and vitality that comes, not through catastrophe or violence or sudden disaster but through benign neglect. Beware of it in your marriage. Beware of it in your relationship with Me. Beware of it in your church and city and nation.
Don’t lose the passion of pursuit. Pursue your bride. Pursue My Presence. Pray for your nation with unction, zeal and passion. Ask Me for revival and don’t stop asking.
This old city can live again. I can come with paint and oil and lumber and steel and glass. I can call sons and daughters from the far country. I can restore, refresh, renew. I can bring laughter and purpose and business and life to the dusty streets again. Look with the eyes of faith.
Seek the spirit of Nehemiah. Summon your brothers and rebuild the ancient walls.
You’ve gotten discouraged and dispirited about your country. I don’t want that. I can fix this. Don’t let go of hope.
2 Chronicles 7:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.