Light in the Darkness
By Louise Craig
It was Ron Oliver’s first attempt to be the evangelist for a crusade. Ron, Virginia and I were in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, last-minute fill-ins when the group that was scheduled canceled with only two weeks to go. Local pastors had been conducting meetings, preparing people for the ‘famous evangelist’ who was coming.
That line in the flyer got more than a slight a chuckle from our small group. But Ron was still nervous. Each day, as we prepared, we prayed unceasingly for Ron, for the people of Victoria Falls, for the church members who would be left to continue working with the people when we left.
The church was on a corner lot. Behind the church was a group of businesses, including a bar with brie (what we would call a barbecue) that was just on the other side of the fence. The loud speakers were not aimed at the audience. They were aimed outward, to the community and that included the bar. You could hear the sermon for several blocks.
One night stands out particularly. Ron was preaching on the Mark of the Beast. He had been particularly stressed that day, feeling the importance of the message. As he spoke that evening, I felt a darkness pressing on us that had nothing to do with the night. It grew heavier and more oppressive as time went on until I dropped my head in prayer. As I was running the computer, that was taking a chance that I would miss one of Ron’s cues for a slide change, but the atmosphere was so heavy and felt dangerous. I had no choice.
I learned after the service that Virginia was also feeling it and just at the time that she was about to reach out to tell me we had to pray, she saw my head drop. We both prayed intensely throughout the rest of the sermon.
The church members told us that throughout the evening, people in the bar had been screaming curses, calling Ron a liar, throwing beer bottles across the fence — none of which we heard.
That night, the light of the Good News shattered the darkness.
“Then Jesus spoke out again, ‘I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
John 8:12 New English Translation
Pray that the Light of the World will shine through you, through our church, and through the upcoming meetings, to shatter the darkness in the world around us.