I am very conscious of the fact that I have “grief stuck inside.” When we lost our precious baby back in November of 1998, it was like a time bomb burst inside of me. I went from what some psychologists call “denial” to “deep grief” in a very short time period. Usually, they say, there are stages involved in being able to get to that stage: first denial, then acceptance, then sorrow, then deep grief (a trusted pastor has shared this with me, this is not just “psychology”). In my case, when the baby died, it was as though the grief that was always waiting to come out (even before the baby died) all of a sudden started to come out (it is not finished yet). This was not the first time I have grieved. But bam. This time, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Deep grief within a day. That type of grief is characterized by overwhelming emotion — something that was, indeed, “stuck inside of me” as a child. Now even the psychologists admit that disease (from which I have suffered for over 10 years) is often linked with repressed grief, as well as repressed anger, and a whole host of other emotions. Indeed, the family that carries with it a “lineage of disease” (ours is typical) may also be the family that carries with it a fundamental inability to express their feelings, and to “let it all hang out”.
Which brings me to my next topic, revival. I don’t agree with everything that is happening in all the churches these days, but God *is* doing something “brand new” in my opinion. And what is he doing? He is allowing us all the opportunity to express our emotions in a way that is consistent with the Bible. I am not saying, “out of order is fine.” Rather, there are many of us who have, for a long time, “bottled up inside of us” a lot of our emotions. Simply put, the environments from which we have come have not been “safe” ones. Not only was it not safe for us to express our emotions (anger, sadness, grief, etc.) when it should have been appropriate, it was not safe for us to communicate even basic feelings and concepts that are normal to any proper relationship. Thus, miscommunication occured, etc., and, for fear of being misunderstood, laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, etc., we developed the habit of “keeping it all inside of us.” This became what some people call a “negative stronghold” in our lives, and this “stronghold” brought with it a whole host of problems attached with it. For some of us, that has meant troubled relationships. For others, that has meant the “incubation of disease” (I know what that is like). For yet others, that has meant a life of fear, as Satan has had more than his opportunity to run havoc in our lives, and in the lives of our loved ones. Enough is enough! When is this going to end? When we get the guts enough to stop “playing church” and pretending that everything is all right. It is not all right! If it was, the church, and the entire west in general, would be in a far better state than it is today.
Many of the charismatic churches, in particular, are being used by God to help people “get out” what has been troubling them deep on the inside, and to be able to express their emotions in a godly way. It was in a charismatic church that God first poured out his real, “Father-heart” to me back in 1991 (I wailed and wailed as his Spirit was literally poured out on me – demons were also aroused in me at the same time, as the hornet’s nest was literally “stirred up” by the presence of God’s love). The environment I was in was a safe one — the 1991 Toronto Airport Family Camp, hosted by John Arnott and others. I was diseased much more than I am today (which is small by comparison) with wicked, painful, arthritis. The arthritis was a “turning point,” because it forced me to seek God in ways that I would not have otherwise done. Plainly put, it was what God used to help me get involved with the Cambride, Ontario, Vineyard Church (when I went to be with that church for nine months, my former “home church” handed me a 60 page written document explaining why I should avoid that church). There are many good aspects in each church, but not all of the churches, it seems, has all of the answers (this much is clear!). God has clearly called my wife and I, in fact, to attend a more conservative style church. Nevertheless, we have often attended Pentecostal services on Sunday evenings, and have placed our son in what we think is this world’s “best choice” for a Christian School — not the conservative one down the road (which we pulled our son out of), but the Pentecostal one fifteen miles away. The teachers there are absolutely fantastic, among the most godly, devout, people, we have ever seen. So you see, we each “know in part” as Paul says, and we each have something very positive to offer.