During winter vacation, my oldest son and I had the opportunity to visit the Boston Public Library. 3.7 million people visit this library every year to enjoy roughly 23 million items. But it's not just about the books. The BPL is a historic landmark with stunning Renaissance architecture, a marble staircase guarded by two stone lion sculptures, and gorgeous paintings by Sargent, Chavannes, and Abbey covering walls and ceilings throughout. I wanted my son to appreciate this Boston landmark, but I also had a secondary mission: to locate the John Adams collection.
John Adams, the second US President and a founding father of our nation, was a Massachusetts-born, Harvard-educated lawyer who called himself a collector of books. In 1894, a portion of his collection - over 3500 volumes in 8 languages - was donated to the Boston Public Library. Thousands more are housed at Peacefield, the family's Quincy estate. His collection is said to be one of the largest personal libraries held in America during his lifetime (1735-1826).*
My son and I ascended to the top floor of the library, bypassing the common rooms full of tourists and students. When we stepped into the Rare Books room, it was like entering another world.
The room is dimly lit, small and very hushed. These historic tomes are kept behind glass, illuminated by soft spotlights. As we looked around, a sense of reverence enveloped us. Here were volumes of wisdom from every aspect of life: literature, law, religion, economics, politics, and education. Select a book from the shelf and you are likely to find Adams' own handwritten, dated notes in the margin, revealing his intense desires both to interact with history and to formulate plans for our newly-birthed nation.
What a treasure! What a privilege to be able to see, through the eyes of a father and statesman, the birth of America!
A New World Order
It is unlikely that John Adams or any of the founding fathers knew exactly what our nation would become. They knew only that the old way of life could no longer continue, and that a new order must arise. "People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity," Adams said. It is hard to miss the comparison to the Christian life.
I believe, as do others, that at this moment in time, God is interested in doing something so new, so unimaginably good, that we simply have no framework or constitution for it yet. We are living in times of great adversity. Our nation's present course is unsustainable. But God is not finished with us yet!
As believers, we know from searching the Bible that things DO go from bad to worse for the world. (See Matthew 24 or the prophecies in Revelation for confirmation.) Many believers stop there, adopting a doomsday perspective and failing to see the opportunity that presents itself. For just as the first Constitutional Congress drew upon all the wisdom available to them at the time, stepping into their new destiny and creating a revolutionary national framework, so we in Christ are being presented with the opportunity to step into a new spiritual world.
It is time to dig deeper into God's extensive library. It is time to look back at the spiritual revolutionaries of our history - the Finneys, the Wigglesworths, the Montgomeries - and allow God to give shape to new spiritual concepts not yet unveiled.
When we look at history, we see both men and women being used to initiate healing revivals. We see renewals that came into every sphere of civilization, including politics. We see the ancient paths of prayer, fasting, and worship as being paved by these pioneers and ready again for our use. Those who have gone before us are quite literally God's volumes, His very own "rare manuscripts," which are still readable today and contain vast resources for us in the Spirit. Look at how Paul describes them:
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry,
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corintians 3:3, NIV
Like Adams, this generation is called by the Holy Spirit to be the founder of God's new order in the earth. We must press in to find out what the Spirit is saying to the churches today - and not just the charismatic churches, either! Revival is all-encompassing, all-inclusive. It touches believer and unbeliever alike. It restores balance, builds relationships, and offers hope.
We have heard for many years now that revival is coming. Will you be the ones who prayerfully step through God's open door and find out how to bring the newness of heaven to earth? Will you ask Him to show you how to write the new, spiritual constitution for this time?
Let's find out together what this looks like! Let's study the Bible, the source of all wisdom, with pen in hand and ears open to the voice of God. Let's be bold enough to step into the new world that God has given us in the Spirit, so that generations after us can enjoy all of its benefits. Let's allow the finger of God to write His impressions upon the tablets of our hearts, so that we, too, become rare and living manuscripts, testimonies to His glory and treasures upon His shelves.
c. Deborah Perkins, 2014
Deborah Perkins is passionate about helping others connect with God. She writes about knowing God and hearing His voice at His Inscriptions.com. You can also follow Deborah on Twitter@DeborahSPerkins.
Free Link to the Subscriber Resource Library when you join His Inscriptions!
A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.