Our most recent crusade was held in Sawla, a small town in southern Ethiopia. Hedged in by mountains and winding, often barely-existent roads, getting to it involved hours of up-and-down, twisty-turny travel and close encounters with trucks, donkeys and cattle. Arriving was a sweet experience. Not solely because the journey had ended with vehicle and passengers still intact but because of the love of the pastors who met us at the town entrance. No hands were extended in formal introduction. Rather, we were grabbed and hugged by each and all, embraced and held tightly with sincere affection by pastor after pastor after pastor. My husband and I were taken to where we would be staying, the very best guesthouse in town. Ushered to our room by the crusade committee chairman, we encountered a tiny space with a narrow bed in one corner, a rickety closet in the other, a few candles and matches perched on its dust-covered top for when the electricity failed (which was often). A bucket and pitcher for cold-water washing were found in the bathroom, the little mirror above the basin so scratched that gazing into it yielded a fuzzy smudge gawping back. “Is this ok?” the chairman asked in his broken English. “It is perfect,” I warmly replied. Then, the expression on his aged, weathered faced became most serious. He took my hands in his, looked me in the eyes and said: “We want the glory of God at this crusade. That is what we want. We want the glory of God.” I did not tell him that I pray Isaiah 60 over all our crusades. I had been praying: “Arise and shine, Sawla for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you!” Each crusade is put together for one simple, exquisite purpose: preparing a platform for the Lord of Hosts to manifest Himself to the people. And, at every crusade without fail, He does just that. We preach His Gospel with simplicity and passion. We pray in His name for the sick and bound. Then, we step back and He pours Himself out upon those gathered. “Yes, Pastor,” I responded. “His glory shall fall on Sawla. Sawla shall never be the same again.” His seriousness dissolved into a wide smile. And, what happened? The Lord answered the prayers of those pastors – and mine. His glory annexed Sawla. Sawla was forever changed.
What is the glory of God? When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory in Exodus 33, the Almighty responded: “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.” His glory is His goodness. His glory is the impact His name has upon us. And so, what is this goodness? What is the impact of His illustrious name? The two are really one and the same: Salvation from sin, healing from disease, deliverance from bondage. This is His goodness. This is His glory. This is the impact of His name. When we proclaim that name, His glory falls, His goodness manifests. This is what we did in Sawla. And, His glory infiltrated and saturated. What was most glorious among all the glories? Was it the tens of thousands who were washed in the blood of the Lamb? Was it the man whose paralysed limbs became fully mobile? Was it the woman who stopped vomiting blood? Was it the gentleman whose broken bones “popped back together again” as he so descriptively explained? Was it the shrivelling of tumours? Was it the restoration of sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf? Was it the skedaddling of demons or the thousands filled with the Holy Spirit? It was all of it. His goodness. His glory. His Gospel.
I want to encourage you, dear friend. His glory is His Gospel. If you preach His Gospel, if you lift His name on high, you will see His glory. Invite the lost to accept Him. Lay hands on the sick. Rebuke bondages. If you do this, His goodness shall manifest and overwhelm. His glory will invade and pervade service after service, street corner after street corner. For me, such goodness is better than gold dust, glittering clouds and angel feathers. The glory I want in my life and at my meetings is soul-saving, body-healing, chain-snapping. demon-destroying Gospel glory. This is the glory we see at our crusades. This is the glory after which I yearn and for which I pray. This is the glory the world needs. This is the glory that breaks every chain!
Click here to read Tamryn’s report on her time Sawla, Ethiopia.