Last Wednesday as I was on my way into work I was praying and asking God what I needed to preach on during our Wednesday afternoon chapel service.In fact I had already asked God this question a couple times that morning.I know that He always delivers, however I am always little concerned about my time on Wednesday as far a preparation is concerned because generally Wednesday is a very full day.As usual God did not disappoint.In the morning I attended a weekly gathering of pastors that pray together (these guys have been doing so for over 10 years).It is always an encouraging time and that morning was no exception.One pastor shared what I guess is not a new preaching anecdote- nonetheless one that I had not heard before.It’s the one about how jewelers when selling diamonds will place the diamond on a piece of black velvet and then shine a bright light on it.This of course demonstrates how stunning and brilliant the diamond is.The pastor went on to note that the practical analogy of this picture was that the light of God shining through the church is brightest and most magnificent when the world is the darkest.Right before he had shared this story I believe the Lord had reminded me of the groaning of the people Israel during a time of slavery, oppression and great darkness when they were under the tyranny of Pharoah while in Egypt.It was during this time of darkness that Moses appeared on the scene and like the diamond, shone a bright light on Egypt and the people of Israel eventually delivering the latter from darkness of slavery in their lives.These two things were of great encouragement to me and I began to inquire of the Lord as to whether I should preach from the passage in Exodus and use the diamond anecdote as part of what I would preach later that afternoon.I asked God to confirm it.About an hour later (if that), while I was leading a bible study at the centre, one gentleman shared that exact same diamond picture…. Only an hour later.What are the chances?Coincidence?I think not.God had confirmed for me what I was to preach about.
Having a message to preach was very cool and what it was what I had been inquiring about from Him; it was not however the best part of this story.It was what happened after bible study that was the most fantastic.I happened to be talking to a non believing friend of mine about how God had so clearly revealed to me what I was to speak about in chapel.This friend asked me why God didn’t reveal Himself that way to her.What an open door.I realized quickly that God had provided an opportunity for evangelism here.I responded by asking her if she prayed (though I knew that as she was a devout Muslim that she prayed regularly).I then asked if she prayed in Jesus name.Her response was simply “Should I?”This of course allowed me to begin to talk about how sin has separated all humanity from God and that a mediator was needed for to have any real semblance of relationship or fellowship with Him.As I continued I spoke of the temple and the Holy of Holies; of how only the High Priest was allowed access (and only once a year at that) into the Holy of Holies.This Holy of Holies was the place where God’s presence was manifest on earth.I continued to share how when Jesus was crucified and His blood spilt out that His sacrifice was for the covering of our sin so that we might have fellowship and relationship with God.Then I related how the text of scripture indicates that when Jesus had breathed His last, the veil (which separated humanity from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies) was torn in two from top to bottom.The implication, I explained, was that because of the blood of Jesus shed for sin, that anyone who believed could have free access to presence of Father God because of Jesus’ sacrifice.I told her this is the reason why I always prayed in Jesus name- because only through Him did I have access to God.She then asked why Jesus sacrifice was the only one that mattered- what about other prophets?My response came straight from John 14:6- that He is the way, and the truth and the life by which we have access- only through Him.I wish I could say that she became a convert to Christianity at the moment; that is not the case.That being said she then began to share the darkness in her own life (not that she used those words) and when she was done, I asked her if I could pray for these things in the name of Jesus.Her response was as it has been for months now:please do.Once again I was able to come before the only God, in the powerful name of Jesus and bring her requests to Him.What is most fascinating to me about this is how God has given me opportunity for months to pray for her in the name of Jesus.After months of doing this, God gave me an opportunity to explain why I did.Interestingly enough, often those prayers that I had prayed for her had been answered and it only seemed to be when I prayed she said.I of course quickly responded that it was not me- rather it was the name of Jesus that was the key.
I realized something though in the aftermath of that situation.God was putting a practical spin on the diamond in the darkness analogy.In her times of intense darkness, God used me as a diamond, and His light shone through me.What blessing and what a revelation for my own walk with Him.Someday I believe she will see the light and become a follower of Jesus as well. What an incredible day that will be for me.I believe the challenge for us all is to be like Moses and even Elijah and ultimately like Jesus Himself:To be diamonds in the darkness.Our mission is to shine forth with the light of God like a brilliant many faceted diamond, bringing the intensity of almighty God to bear on dark world.