Story Behind the Song
by Terry Scott Taylor
CCM October 2000
"Diamonds to Coal" is built around a negligibly clever little juxtaposition. Naturally, it should be titled "Coal to Diamonds." Witty, eh? More serious is its lyrical content, which is basically my shady attack against "prosperity doctrine." In "Diamonds" it takes the form of a repentant rich manís broken prayer. He hopes to get himself and his camel through the eye of a needle. "Change my highs to lows, Lord," he is praying. "Turn my diamonds into coal/Allow me to truly partake in the fellowship of Your suffering."Before I wrote it for the Lost Dogsí Gift Horse project, I was thinking the very pragmatic thought that we needed more up-tempo material. As they say, "from such sows ears, silk purses are made" or, if you lack appreciation for this song, you are free to mentally cut and paste the reverse of said proverb.
Still, the sentiment is a worthy one. And as an expression of the truth of my heartís desire it is, by Godís grace, an accurate one. In this sense I believe God "gave me the song." The character in the song is crying out for redemption, but it is my prayer as well, and the offering isnít made lightly. It is uttered with a stammering heart and a stuttering tongue. Do I really want God to change my "diamonds to coal"? Heaven forbid! Who wants to suffer? Youíd have to be a masochist. But if in asking for Godís will to be done in my life, suffering eventually comesóif it is part of the package so to speakóthen may God be merciful and so be it.
Itís my belief that intimacy with Christ comes essentially through this means, thus the songís subject matter. If "Diamonds to Coal" connects with the listener beyond its entertainment value, then the greater purpose for writing it in the first place has been accomplished. If Iíve only entertained you, the musician in me says great! If Iíve moved you, the Christian in me says "praise the Lord." If all are true, mission accomplished.