Revival is My Story
“Thanks so much, Dad! I love you.”
I finished my email. I was facing a slightly tricky decision and my father had provided wise counsel, some gently probing questions for me to consider, and also some money to support the decision if I decided to go the riskier way. It was a good picture of a perfect father-son interaction: advice, support, wisdom and money. I was genuinely thankful to my dad, but more so to my Heavenly Father. Why? Because it hasn’t always been this way between my dad and me. In 2004 my parents separated, and later divorced, and I decided somewhere along the way that I didn’t need a father anymore.
Like many others, my family picked up our tent and followed God to Toronto in the 1990s to join the revival. I had grown up in New Zealand, and I remember thinking that the church in Toronto was the biggest church I had ever seen. Now I know otherwise, but to 13-year-old me it was pretty impressive. Over the following 16 years I learned that my Heavenly Father loved me, I learned how to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, I learned that Jesus was the perfect representation of the Father’s will towards us, and I fell deeply in love with God. I grew up, I married, and I had my own kids. Over the course of time I developed a rich, sturdy faith capable of asking deep questions and coming out the other side still in love with Jesus.
And yet… when setting out on a road trip in 2014 to visit my dad in New Brunswick, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper inside of me, “It’s time you became your father’s son again.” I didn’t really know what to do with this, but I was willing to try. I asked God to show me how and he said, “Start by shutting up and find a way to let your dad speak into your life.”
OK. Fair play.
Over the following two years I began to open my heart up to my dad once again. My parents divorce had been amicable, far better than many I had seen, but it still caused pain. Many have unhelpfully said things to me, such as, “Your family joined the Toronto Blessing and your parents still got divorced? Not a great blessing is it.” I refused to give those kinds of accusations airplay inside my brain, since I knew what God had done in my own life so far. As the two years progressed and I found ways to let Dad speak into my life, I found my trust and openness with him returning to a healthy level. Due to various circumstances, I began to deal with depression and anxiety, and during that time my dad became a close supporter and prayer warrior for me, having struggled with the same himself for many years.
God finally drew back the curtain to show me how he had reconciled us, in March 2017. I was planning a trip to Florida to visit one of my favourite authors and, the night before leaving, I discovered that my passport had expired. I was distraught, trying to figure out how on earth I could afford the cost of changing the flights, getting a rushed passport replacement, and so on. In the midst of my chaos when I could barely think clearly, one single, crystal-clear thought emerged: “Call Dad.” It still makes me tear up to think about it. I called Dad, he calmed me down and walked me through the best options (he’s a travel agent, among other things), and helped my heart return to peace.
The following day, sitting in the airport, I realized that my first response to chaos was to reach out to my earthly father. I was dumbstruck, as I saw firsthand the amazing healing that God had done in my heart.
To me, this is one of the many fruits of revival: the giving of new tools. In my case, my family received tools of forgiveness, repentance and love. These tools prepared us to face a difficult challenge and we came through with love and healing. God's revival provided solutions and restoration to my life. Every one of us can be equipped with useful things to go out into the world and minister God’s love. If we’re open, God’s love will start working on us first and heal our relationships and families. Then it will turn us outward and we will be agents of his love, reaching a hurting world trapped in great bondage. You can be revival right now. Take hold of the tools God is giving you and put them to work in the garden of your family, your friends, your workplace, and your social circle. Revival is my story. What is your revival story?
Jonathan Puddle is passionate about empowering people as sons and daughters in the Kingdom, and building administrative structures that flow in sonship and honour.
Jonathan was raised in New Zealand and worked for Catch The Fire for over 13 years. Together with his lovely wife Maija and three kids, James, Ruuben, and Emmi, they are part of the Catch The Fire Kitchener family, with Lead Pastors, Adam and Amy Ryan.
In anticipation of our conference, we are starting a conversation around what revival looks like today through a series called Revival Now. Read More
We invite you to join us for our annual Catch The Fire Conference from September 27-30, 2017. Let's come together and share our revival stories!