Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
The hand of the Lord upon a man of God can bring sudden awareness of sin in those he ministers to. In today’s scripture Peter suddenly found himself naked before the Lord, his sins were exposed, his new life was about to begin. The Lord raised up a young man by the name of George Whitefield back in the days of Colonial America. The power of God was upon him, as he preached, the hearers would come under conviction of their sinfulness. A Connecticut farmer by the name of Nathan Cole recorded his experience with the hearing of George Whitefield. Here is an excerpt from Thomas Kidd’s book, George Whitefield America’s Spiritual Founding Father, where Kidd shares about Nathan Cole’s encounter.
“’He looked almost angelical; a young, slim, slender youth before some thousands of people with a bold undaunted countenance, and my hearing how God was with him everywhere as he came along it solemnized my mind; and put me into a trembling fear before he began to preach; for he looked as if he was clothed with authority from the great God; and a sweet solemn solemnity sat upon his brow. And my hearing him preach, gave me a heart wound; by God’s blessing: my old foundation was broken up, and I saw that my righteousness would not save me.’
This was only the beginning of Cole’s conversion, not the end. For two years more he wrestled with God, especially concerning divine election and unmerited grace. From Whitefield, he understood these doctrines to be essential to authentic Christianity. Finally accepting them, he experienced conversion and assurance of forgiveness. For decades Cole was a key leader in Kensington’s radical evangelical movement, separating from his Congregational church and eventually becoming a Baptist.”
There was obviously that unexplainable ‘something’ on the young George Whitefield. His words carried conviction, authority, and hope. He was raised up by God as a vessel to usher a generation into the kingdom of God. This was not just any generation, this was the first generation of Americans. Our country has strayed far from her moorings in my lifetime. Who would have thought that relationships between people of the opposite sex would be called holy matrimony, that men who ‘think’ they are really a woman trapped in a man’s body can use the girl’s restroom, or that unborn children could be killed as an inconvenience. Adultery and fornication are considered normal behavior, unthinkable.
Maybe it’s time for God to raise up a generation of young George Whitefields to shake our land once again.