Wednesday, February 15, 2012
His Precious Jewel - A Godly Perspective on Suffering
"'They shall be Mine,' says the Lord of hosts, 'On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.' Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him." - Malachi 3:17 -18 NKJV
When this life verse was given to me by a dear friend with the gift of prophecy, I was just a child. She spoke to me regarding some other things which I will not speak of now, but these verses have been my lifeline and what I cling to during my darkest hours. When I was younger, they seemed beautiful and mysterious - a promise that I was, indeed, special to Him. As I have gotten older and sought the Lord's wisdom, I am learning the true nature of what it means to be one of God's jewels.
Jewels are sparkly and special. They are something that men have sought after for centuries. They are prized and precious - rare and a joy to find. It is an awesome and beautiful thing that the Lord of all creation would consider us His jewels! Do we fully understand everything involved in being a jewel, though? We tend to focus on who we are in Christ, which is good, but we don't focus as much as we should on the process He uses to take us there. This is one huge reason why people have such misunderstanding and doubt of God's loving nature based on the difficulty of the suffering in this world. I had quite the "Aha!" moment as I looked deeper into what it takes to make a jewel.
There are many different types of jewels, all made up of different substances. Much like people, their colors, textures, and compositions are all unique - and are all beautiful in their own way. Some of them form in places that are not very far below our own feet. They are plentiful and are easily found. They may not be as highly sought after, but they are still precious and costly. There are, however, gemstones that are very different. They are difficult to find because the substances that they are made of are rare. It is amazing, indeed, when God brings together just the right components and just the right conditions in order to make something truly beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Scientifically speaking, some of the most rare and precious jewels are created deep in the earth's mantle (below the crust - approximately 100 - 150 miles below the surface.) The specific conditions that form them are the presence of the necessary chemical substances along with extreme heat and pressure. Diamonds are perhaps the most rare jewel and are the most sought after gemstone known to man. Not much is known about the specific pressures and temperatures under which natural diamonds form, but synthetic diamonds are made at pressures upwards of 50,000 - 70,000 atmospheres and temperatures ranging from 1200 - 1500 degrees Celsius. This equates to 734,800 - 1,028,720 pounds per square inch and 2192 - 2732 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, extreme is a bit of an understatement. Likewise, some of God's people go through more extreme purification processes than others in order to become what He needs to fulfill His purpose.
In the gospel of Mark, James and John approached Jesus and asked Him to give them a place of authority by His side. "They said to Him, 'Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.' But Jesus said to them, 'You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?' They said to Him, 'We are able.' And Jesus said to them, 'The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. '" - Mark 10:37-39 NASB
James and John had no idea what they were asking when they wanted to be at Jesus' right hand and left hand. None of us ever knows what the road ahead will be like, but over and over, the Bible declares that His people who are called by His Name will suffer. So many times, we as Christians, expect that the road will be made easy for us because we have the Almighty God as our Father, Protector, and Provider. His love and guidance, however, has never been a guarantee of an easy path. Just like rare and precious gemstones, we could never become that which He has ordained for us to be without the right composition, pressure, and heat. Because the process is different for different types of gems, we can not judge our path against someone else's. It may be much easier just being a lump of clay, but isn't it wonderful being chosen to be God's precious jewel?