From a miracle in Syria to a revival in Asbury

A Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

The ground is sturdy, until it’s not. Until it’s pulled out beneath you like a rug.

The aftershocks of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southeastern Turkey have hit the globe, but most especially those in the city of Gazientap. Over 50,000 deaths in Turkey and Syria have been confirmed so far, while others continue to be pulled from the rubble, like a 17-year-old girl who survived 10 days until being rescued. 

Then there’s Aya, whose name means Miracle – a baby found alive amongst the fallen buildings, still attached to her mother via umbilical cord. Her mother, father and four siblings, all killed when the earthquake hit northern Syria.

I’m reminded of Jesus who says in Matthew 24, “How terrible it will be for women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies in those days!” The great distress of these last days.

And yet the shaking is, somehow, stirring.

(Sky News, screenshot, Feb. 21, 2023)

We fall on our knees in our living room, here in Canada, and we pray and we cry for those still buried, the ones only God can hear. We pray and we cry for those who’ve escaped but have lost everything. Their world, now reduced to a tent and a few belongings. One Syrian man was able to save a cage full of birds. Others, just the clothes on their back. 

And it happens so fast. In a blink.

(Cagle Cartoons)

And in the same blink, a revival began, stirring up the town of Wilmore, Kentucky. This Asbury revival happened once before, in 1970, with worship lasting a total of 185 hours.

Now the revival lasted two weeks – continuous worship, night and day, from hundreds of young people, from February 8 to February 22. Hours and hours of worship, extending from this small, private Christian college, drawing believers from as far away as Singapore. It’s as Isaiah prophesied – “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it” (2:2).

Meanwhile, bodies continue to be uncovered in Turkey and Syria, as the death toll rises. 

But so does our praise.

Arms stretched high to the heavens, hours on end, in continuous adoration at Asbury. Pilgrims from all corners of the earth came, hungry, for the God whose presence is heavy at this little college. “God is alive!” they proclaimed. Because sometimes we have to remind ourselves of this.

“We would say there is just a spirit of the Lord in this place, really [burrowed] its way into the hearts and minds of our students, staff, faculty and our community,” Asbury president Kevin Brown told local news.

Even as the world shakes, we remain unshaken.

For we know the One in Whom we profess. The One who’s rescued us all from the rubble of sin and death –that we might stand on Him, the firm foundation, who is Jesus Christ. 

May we not ignore Him who speaks.


  • Emily Wierenga

    Emily Wierenga is a wife and mother who is passionate about the church and lives in northern Alberta. She is the author of the memoirs Atlas Girl and Making it Home (Baker Books), and the founder of a non-profit working in Africa and Asia.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *