We are all gems in the rough

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2010

Diamonds are formed beneath the earth’s surface where crystals made of carbon undergo high temperatures and intense pressure.

A diamond has great power to reflect light, but to produce the greatest brilliance, it must be cut and polished. Its hardness makes it the most lasting of all gemstones.

Someone has said, “The diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials.”

Ever heard a person described as a “diamond in the rough?” If you’re a diamond in the rough, it means you’ve got great potential to be something very valuable. Many individuals, like uncut diamonds, have shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.

Just as a diamond must undergo transformation to make it valuable, you and I must undergo “polishing” so we can reflect the Light of the Lord in our lives.

“Troubles are often tools by which God fashions us for better things,” according to Henry Ward Beecher, an outstanding minister of the 1800’s.

Howard Taylor, son of missionary Hudson Taylor, wrote of his father’s spiritual secrets saying, “It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies, whether it comes between me and God or whether it presses me nearer His heart.”

As the writer of Romans 8:18 put it, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (NKJ).

Most gems – like diamonds, emeralds and rubies – are minerals mined from beneath the earth.  However, one of the most valuable gems is formed inside a shell when a small grain of sand becomes embedded in an oyster, causing an irritation.

Author Anne Graham Lotz explains what happens.  “To soften the irritation, the oyster coats the grain of sand with a smooth layer of what is called ‘mother of pearl.’  As long as the oyster can feel the irritation, it continues to coat the sand with layers of pearl.”

In Revelation chapter 21, we read the Apostle John’s vision God gave him of the heavenly city with foundations of precious stones like sapphire, emerald, and topaz and streets of gold.  The 12 gates are each made of a single pearl.

Lotz writes of heaven in her book, My Father’s House.  “What kind of irritation would be necessary to form the pearls that make up the gates to our heavenly city when they are so large they can fit into a wall that is two hundred feet thick? It must have been more than irritation.  It must have been horrendous, severe suffering!

“I wonder…are the pearls a reminder, every time you and I enter My Father’s House, that we enter only because of the intense suffering and death of God’s Son? Do those pearly gates reflect the cross of Jesus Christ?”

In heaven, God will wipe away every tear and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain. Bad things do happen to those Jesus loves, says Lotz, but “remember this spiritual principle – glory follows suffering and life follows death.”