Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Thought: Revival In Sin City

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to visit Las Vegas with my husband, who had to travel there on business. Having never seen the famous town, I took advantage of the opportunity and figured it would just be another experience I could have. I am not a gambler at all, so I knew I wasn't going to enjoy it like other people do, but I figured I'd at least get to see the place I'd watched on CSI.

Riding from the airport to the hotel, I realized I was not in the Bible Belt anymore. Just the ads made me avert my eyes. By the time I reached the hotel I knew exactly where the nickname Sin City came from.

And yet, I was going to have downtime--rare quiet time-- while I was there. Curt was going to be in meetings for much of the day and I had a beautiful hotel suite in which to take advantage of the quiet time: arranging for my own personal spiritual retreat. It didn't matter that right outside my window were the lights and ads and people that went totally against what I was doing.

I felt like Daniel in Babylon, praying in front of my window while all around me people were pursuing false gods. (Daniel 6) But the thing about Daniel is, he didn't let what was happening around him deter him from what God wanted from him. It didn't matter that I was in Sin City. So was Daniel, as Babylon was probably the Biblical equivalent to Las Vegas for its time. All that mattered to him was to keep seeking God. Daniel knew He could be found in Sin City just the same as He could be found anywhere else. In fact, I think He is even closer in Sin City-- just waiting for one of the lost people I saw on the strip or in the casinos to see their false gods for what they are and run into His open arms. I think He stands in those casinos and watches people gamble with tears running down His face over the cheap substitute they are trying to fill the holes with. I think He sees the lost people staggering down the strip and longs to wrap His arms around them. But they don't see Him because they're looking in the wrong places.

I had a revival in Sin City. I opened my Bible and quieted the noise and bustle of the city to hear from Him. It turns out, I was more compelled by the love He has for us all there than in my little Bible Belt bubble. I saw the need, the ugliness, and the grace that He has for humanity played out every time I left my room. And when I went back, I curled up and read about His love, journaling what He was telling me and praying over His truths.

In His Word I see that miracles can be placed in a manger (Luke 2:7). Redemption can be found amongst the pigs (Luke 15:15-20). Love can be expressed on a cross (Luke 23). God's arm is not too short to reach (Isaiah 59:1). He found me in Sin City. He can find you too. He spoke to me in Sin City. He can speak to you too. Revival, I learned, can happen anywhere.
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Mom Can I? said...

i once heard that RIVIVAL is not a noun, as in person, place of thing...but rather a VERB, as in to revive your soul....glad you got that time!

now get to work on "the" book....

i have to push you don't i? ;-)

Kristi Butler said...

What an insightful post, Marybeth! I was inspired...and am thanking God for blessing you in such a precious way.

God is good! said...

This is so weird! I had the same exact experience when I visited Las Vegas as well with my hubby a couple of years ago. I could visibly see the sin that so encompassed it but also the Love of God that so was crying out to the lost as well. It taught me so much for when I came back home to the Bible belt as well. Thank you so much for sharing your insights! I am so encouraged by your blog!

Stefanie Brown said...

It's always amazing to me how the Lord can take an unseemly situation and be glorified through it. He's simply wonderful.

I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Mary Beth. Such a reminder of what our Christian walk should be - us recognising our weakness as humans and our real need to be walking with God, wherever we are.