Fiji has had more than its share of power-outs in recent months. There is a flicker of warning, a dimming and then a sudden progression to black. Equally as dramatic is the power's return, lights declare their renewed importance; microwaves, phones and computers declare their joy with a hum and beep. Our work in the prison with men and women has many parallels to this simple illustration.
It's a moment, more truthfully a series of moments, that join together to become a priceless transaction. I'm trying to describe in words that incredible moment when the light goes on in someone's mind and heart. That incredible moment when the hidden, the confused, the very dark loses its mystery and power to fear us and maintain its grip on our lives.
We pray for these moments because in truth they cannot be constructed just by human effort. What awakens a man's soul to new conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-14). Specifically this is how we pray - "Father please send your Holy Spirit to bring a conviction of sin and truth...begin your work in him/her there. Also provide in us the willingness and courage to remain in their lives as light."
When God switches the light on it is a conviction light which motivates an action: a 'repentance action' and a 'follower action' whose focus is on Jesus Christ. Revivals both personal or national, have always had this identifier. However, far too often when I have foolishly reached for the light switch in someone's life, it becomes like a sledgehammer of condemnation, which causes another action - to close them down - to drive them away.
Recent research has revealed that a flash of light is emitted at the moment of human conception. Has God who is 'Light', who also began creation with 'let their be light', left an indelible signature of our being created in 'His image and likeness'? Has man only now discovered substance to the words of Psalm 139, verses 13 and onwards... 'For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13-18)
After ten years of being called to be light in dark places, like prisons, there is a simplicity and ambiguity to this life of witness. We leap, laugh and cry with joy when the light goes on, feeling the intense privilege of being witnesses to it; and at the same time, declaring it still to be a wonderful mystery - kept hidden in the hands of a loving God.
- Peter Schultz