Three weeks ago I decided to preach on chastity and sexual purity. Now I will confess this is a challenging subject in our culture and in the jail it seems almost like an archaic subject, and I know going in, there are no virgin men or women there and so I have avoided it until now. Not entirely, but I haven't given a sermon on just that topic. Needless to say there were many questions, and it was a spirited night as I laid out God's best plans for a happy and lasting marriage, and how entering marriage as a virgin allows us bond to one person, and not be filled with memories of past lovers, bonds and affections, where we compare and have diluted our ability to bond to a single person.
One lady, in her forties, and what I would call a "rough cut;" to understate it, simply said, with a bewildered look, "Now you know none of us in here are virgins, so how is this relevant to us and what hope do we have?"
I sensed her hopelessness, but I also sensed the message of hope and new life bursting within me and I launched into the cleansing blood of Christ to make us new, and wash us from all sin and begin a new page, a white page, and in His eyes when we surrender and dedicate our sexuality to Him, we are seen as virgins in His eyes - call us, "recycled virgins."
One never knows how a message of complete surrender; loving God more than mother, father, husband or wife and losing our life for His sake, will go over, it is so extreme in our culture.
Fast-forward to last night, where I preached about how, "God made darkness his hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of water, thick clouds of the skies." And how God pierces the darkest night and enters that darkness in search of us.
After the service, the lady above: who had the questions about purity said to me, "I want that for my life, what you talked about, I want to be sexually pure, I want a life of beauty like you talked about."
I was taken back and began to clumsily encourage her to seek the Lord, when she stopped me and said she already had, and He is giving her so much hope; and how the church service she went to on Sunday, had a message, which was as though it was written just for her, and those bewildered eyes I saw a few weeks ago, were filled with light, and lips of testimony.
It makes me well up now as I am continually amazed at the love and power of Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, even darkness.