The morning seemed strange. The dream was unique, unnerving. There were several parts to it that left me seeking, vigilant. I shook my head when I awakened. Was I in some sort of weird frame of mind? Was this dream significant or one to be filed in the circular file? Was it the devil just disturbing me, or was it God speaking to me? For a while I thought I was just being harassed until I began to recall the totality of the dream and review all its parts. I finally woke up to the fact that God was speaking to me—I was not just having a pizza dream. A couple of parts from the dream are to be shared publicly.
I was in this huge building, a very old one with many levels as well as many facets. One level opened up in the middle of the city center (an old city) and was confluent with the city. I felt like I had stepped back in time—even centuries ago, and time stood still. I could not distinguish the building (a grand church, huge, sprawling, influential and very old) from the city on the building’s ground level. They were one and the same. I knew when I stepped from the building into the city yet they were all the same building structure, one running into the other.
A couple levels below the ground there was a religious service going on. Though it was in this large sprawling Catholic-style building structure, the service was not typically Catholic. I could hear it; the people were singing. A large group had gathered and I could hear what was happening. Revival was breaking out. Underground! This revival was not out in the city square or someplace visible, it was underground and invisible. It was happening on the lowest level of this building.
A powerful presence of God was emanating from the room. I was drawn like a magnet to the meeting; I desperately wanted to get in there. However I was still in my pajamas and couldn’t find my makeup bag. I kept looking for the bag. I couldn’t go into the meeting until I had my makeup on. I remember feeling frantic over finding that bag. The harder I looked, the more elusive finding the bag seemed. I desperately wanted to go into that meeting but wouldn’t go in until I had my makeup on. I didn’t find the bag. I was beside myself. It didn’t dawn on me I didn’t have to put my makeup on. Then I woke up.
I believe that this dream has some real directional application to our understanding of as well as our longing and desire for revival in this hour. There was a lot to the dream but here are a few nuggets.
First, the city and the church were indistinguishable. They were not evil in the dream but neither were they filled with God’s glory. They were empty and neutral, just stone structures, one blending into the other. I believe there is a way that we have come into such a cohabitation with the culture that we are blind to the distinctions, not recognizing how acculturated we have become, as well as being blind to the territorial strongholds. We are bereft of a level of discernment that will destroy us in the days ahead. We cannot distinguish the church from culture and vice versa. We are blind to the power behind the structure. We don’t see it.
Yet there was nothing of God’s glory there, it is godless. We are not of this nation. We are of another kingdom that has no identification or membership in our national culture or nation. We are in but not of this world.
There was no distinction between the religious structure and the city. Both were godless, absent of God’s glory. As revival breaks out, we must be more sensitive to the demonic structure operating in the territory. If we are not, what erupts full of God one day can go down in ruins the next day because we have failed to fully see what we are up against. We have failed to see that the city and religious structure are in unity with each other; both will oppose us.
Second, God was breaking out in the midst of a religious structure and city in an unprecedented way. However it was in a hidden place. It was not in a visible street level structure; it was hidden from most people. I had to go down to the lowest level to get to the meeting. This revival was happening underground.
Something that is underground is hidden, concealed, covert. The underground church in China has been the hidden church. It is vibrant, alive and advancing but hidden to the general public and government. It isn’t visible.
There is something deeply significant of spiritual life, vibrancy and revival that begins in hidden parts and places. I believe this speaks both about individuals and corporate bodies, churches and gathering places where God is breaking out in a reviving power. What is starting to unfold must first start with hungry, humble, desperate people who have no agenda other than to know God and be known by Him. They aren’t seeking to be seen in any way as famous or become a famous revival center but are singularly desperate for God. A simple people, seeking a simple yet holy God, who above all else wants His heart to be their heart and vice versa.
To go down is also to become humble. I couldn’t get in on this meeting unless I was willing to go all the way down, underground where nothing and no one is obvious. The meeting was not visible at the street level to the general public. It was something going on in the depths. It started from the lowest part of this building, the heart of the building. God is working at the root level.
Also in the meeting, nobody was identifiable. There was not an obvious leader. No one stood out in the gathering.
There is a revival God is initiating at the deepest level but it is not yet obvious, not yet brought to public view. Because it is at the bottom level, it will eventually shake up, shift, change and transform everything above it. It is at the foundational level and will shift everything that sits above it. Again, it’s dealing with roots, foundations, the starting point, Ground Zero.
I kept hearing, "This thing God is bringing that we call 'revival' is not what we think it is." It is not just the miraculous and supernatural; this revival that God is birthing will be a place where the awe and fear of God saturates the atmosphere like a cloud. To those who are of a pure heart, it will not be fearful even though the fear of God permeates it. Joy will erupt. All of us must come to a new level of purity of heart. We will know it when we see it—it is far more than miracles, although miracles will be an outcome.
I also believe that what God is initiating has to start at the lowest level in our hearts. I find in myself this desperation, this sense that something is not right, but I don’t know what it is; this longing to know God in a deeper way than I ever have and to be known by Him, this dissatisfaction with my current spiritual status. It isn’t that I am immoral; there is this vague indefinable something that has lost the clarity, the crispness of oneness with Jesus. I am totally His, and He is mine.
Oh, I know God in one sense, I am seeing God break out, I am seeing miracles take place—don’t' get me wrong. But there is this general dis-ease within me that God is after something deeper in me and in us. I don’t feel condemned, I feel desperate. I am coming to the place where I sense some state of compromise, of coming into agreement with so much—not just in the church but in me—that is not really born of God but is not outright evil; just cultural stuff that has snuck its way in.
I felt part of the dream was saying, "Stay low and break out at that 'bottom'"—the core, the deepest place first, at the core or root level. Jesus came out of the root, the stem of Jesse.
I could have gone into the meeting just as I was. But I had my pajamas on. I didn’t have the right clothes on—daytime clothes. I felt I needed different clothes. (Clothes speak to identity and positioning.)
No one told me I couldn’t wear pajamas or had to put on makeup. Yet I would not go in until I changed clothes and put my makeup on. Having to have my face made up was the main thing that kept me out of the meeting. It didn’t keep me from going to that level, but it kept me from entering the room.
I wouldn’t think of going into that meeting without makeup. Going into the meeting required a certain appearance in my mind. It didn’t dawn on me that I could go in, makeup or not. I didn’t think about being embarrassed. Being made-up had become so automatic, expected, that it didn’t register that it was keeping me out of the meeting. In my mind, getting my makeup on first was essential. (For a man, it might be shaving.) I could no longer discern what was the most critical thing. My conviction about how I should look superseded the urgency of the draw into that meeting.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer. 17:9-10).
This Scripture seems particularly pertinent, not in a condemning way but in an instructive way. There are urgent and particular things God is after in this hour. Where we see Him, His glory breaking out and feel the draw, don’t let anything stop us. Don’t let our appearance, positioning (or lack of it) affect us.
Let God get down to the hidden things in our heart, hidden even from us. And above all, don’t look for the obvious and public, look for what He is doing in the deepest and hidden places. He is starting at Ground Zero. God is doing something powerful that will shift entire personal and corporate structures, positioning them to overtake the entire structure eventually with His glory. Don’t be afraid to go underground.
Most of all, cry out; don’t fear desperation. It’s your ticket to get in His hidden room for an outpouring of His glory, for revival.
About the author:·Barbara J. Yoder is the founder and senior pastor of Shekinah Christian Church (shekinahchurch.org) in Ann Arbor, Mich., and is known for her apostolic and prophetic breakthrough ministry. She travels nationally and internationally ministering in churches, conferences and seminars. She is the author of several books, including Taking on Goliath. To order a copy of the book, click here. Visit her blog page at barbarayoderblog.com.