One of my favorite things to do is “channel surf”. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it simply means that when watching TV, I don’t stay on one channel very long. Instead, I move from channel to channel - watching about 15 seconds of each show. So it’s sort of like “surfing” across the top of waves. The really fun part of doing this is that sometimes you stumble across something you wouldn’t normally watch, so that 15 seconds gets longer as you settle in to watch whatever it was that caught your attention.
That’s exactly what happened to me recently when I stumbled across the Learning Channel, and found myself watching “Great Mysteries Of Geology”. The topic of the show was “pipe mining”, and I was fascinated to learn how a large number of the diamonds in use today are actually mined. For those of you who missed the show, here’s a quick recap: when pipe mining is used, diamonds are extracted from the earth through volcanic pipes (natural pipes in the ground made from volcanic activity). The diamonds are not sorted out at the mine, but instead, huge rocks that are full of diamonds are brought out of the mine and moved to a screening plant where they are separated out by strong blasts of air. Then, they are run through strong currents of water. By doing both of these thing, the dirt that is most visible when the rock is first mined is stripped away, and what’s left is a diamond that's then cut and polished.
As I listened to the narrator explain the process, I couldn't help but think of how God is at work in our lives. The thing we can so often forget is that God sees us fully, and so He can see what's underneath all the dirt and junk in our lives. And that’s a big part of why He takes us through challenges and difficulties. They are designed to blast away the dirt and reveal the beauty of what He's created in us.
2 Corinthians 4:7 puts it like this: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” Inside us there's a treasure waiting to be formed and polished by the very same pressures and struggles that make up our everyday lives. And if we persevere, that treasure is perfected so that others can see our example and be drawn to Christ. Which means that, instead of damaging us, our struggles can refine us and shape us into better servants of God.
So today, let's trust God to do His refining work in our lives. As we face challenges and pressures, let’s ask God to help us persevere, and submit to perfecting process so that we can become the beautiful and useful treasure He wants us to be.