New York Times bestselling author Pastor Jentezen Franklin introduces his new book, Acres of Diamonds, which takes a deep look at how you can discover our potential right where God plants you. No matter where God has called you in life, Franklin shows how you can “discover God’s best right where you are.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jentezen about Acres of Diamonds and the moving Biblical truths that can help us embrace God’s best for us, especially in the times when we find ourselves waiting on God.
What is the significance of your title Acres of Diamonds?
It’s a title that I took from a pamphlet that was written [around] 1869 by a man by the name of Russell Conwell. He was touring the Holy Land and he had an Arab guide who told him this story. Conwell took the story and put it into print. It’s not a religious story, but it has a powerful life lesson.
It’s the true story of a farmer by the name of Ali [Hafed]. He went all over the world searching for diamonds and never realized that he was living in acres of diamonds right where he was. I think that is such a vital message that so many people are looking at other people’s relationships, at other people’s marriages, other people’s jobs and opportunities. And if only I had their life, if only I had that person, if only I was married to that person, if only I had this or that, then I would be happy. They don’t recognize that right where they are, God has acres of diamonds and the potential for tremendous joy in life. Not someday, not one day, but right where you are.
What power do we have in giving thanks to God and worshiping him even when life is hard?
I think the key to discovering the acres of diamonds is to worship and to give God thanks and praise, be thankful for what you have and to commit to the process. A diamond is just carbon that is under intense heat and pressure, so much so that that carbon in a highly pressurized and hot environment begins to bond with atoms, and it forms a diamond.
In order to discover the acres of diamonds God has for you, it’s going to require heat and intense pressure. We don’t like that, and we want to run from our trials. We want to run from our troubles. We want to jump the fence to where the grass is greener, when marriages aren’t tough, but it’s only by going through the times of intense and pressure that you discover the blessings God has.
We often talk about God opening and closing doors, so much so that it almost loses its meaning. You dive a little deeper into this, though. Can you talk about God as doorkeeper and the idea of God being with us in the hallway?
You’ve heard that when God closes one door, He opens another. But it’s hell in the hallway because I’ve been in that hallway with the door closed. And then nothing is opening for a long time, and you feel lost, and you feel forgotten, and you feel abandoned, and you feel like you don’t matter to God. But He is our door keeper. He can make it happen quick, but we have to trust him. We have to trust his timing. We have to trust that what he’s doing in our life. When it’s hell in the hallway, it can really prepare us for what God is wanting to do in our life.
What would you say is the purpose of that process and how can we embrace it?
I think it’s conforming us to the image of Christ. It’s the fact that you really don’t know who you are until you go through times like that. And more importantly, you don’t know who He is. I tell the story about Marina Chapman, a true story of a girl who was abducted when she was five years of age in South America. After she was abused, she was left in the jungle of Colombia. She felt somebody would come rescue her, and she almost died. And on the third day, a troop of monkeys surrounded her. To make a long story short, she actually began to follow and live with those monkeys, and she stayed there from the age of 5 to 14. She never saw another human being.
And here’s the only thing that changed her life. One day she looked down and she saw something shiny on one of the paths. She picked it up, and it was a mirror. And for the first time at the age of 14, she looked and she saw, I’m not like these monkeys. They’re different from me. I’m not like them… She went on to National Geographic, did this huge story about her life and how she survived. And the thing that turned her was when she saw who she really was.
The Bible calls the Word of God a mirror. And when you get into the Word in the times of struggle and trials, it will show you who you are. It will show you who you’re not and it will show you who you can become.
You end the book talking about Heaven. Why?
We purposely made the last chapter about Heaven because, ultimately, if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’re headed to acres of diamonds. The Bible talks about Heaven as being a place of no more sorrow, no more pain, no more hunger, no more thirst, no more addictions. God’s dream for every person’s life is acres of diamonds where we will live with Jesus in Heaven with one another. Jesus is the greatest treasure and He will be there.