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Saturday, November 27, 2010

From a Lump of Clay

 Diamonds and coal are both comprised of carbon. So why are diamonds so prized, while coal is merely thrown into the fire to burn?

What makes the difference between the glistening gem that is a symbol of purity & strength, worn in the crowns of royalty, & given as engagement gifts or to celebrate 60 years of marriage, & its humble cousin, coal?
It is the amount of heat and pressure that each has undergone.

Coal is formed when a layer of eroding vegetation is compressed under the weight of much dirt, rock, or water above it.
Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that have been subjected to tremendous heat and pressure in the bowels of the earth and brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions.
It takes much more pressure and heat to make a diamond than it does coal.
Diamonds are truly extraordinary! They are the hardest natural substance known to man. Diamonds are transparent over a large range of wavelengths, from ultraviolet to infrared, and have a higher refraction index than any other substance. They conduct heat better than anything else--five times better than the second best element, which is silver--and have the highest melting point. The atoms of a diamond are packed closer together than are the atoms of any other substance. The English word "diamond" comes from the Greek adamas, which means "unconquerable."

The trials and tribulations that we face in life are like the heat and pressure that are exerted on carbon atoms to shape them into diamonds. If we are going through particularly hard times, it may be that the Lord is making something precious of us. Imagine if a lump of coal refused to go through the process necessary to make it what it was destined to be--a diamond. It would remain a lump of coal.

Even after the diamond is formed in the earth and discovered by man, it must be cut and polished before its beauty and value can be fully appreciated. Diamonds are cut and polished by friction using other diamonds. God often "cuts and polishes" by means of adversity. People who have gone through the process already--other "diamonds"--can help bring out the best in us too, if we let them.

One way to tell if diamonds are genuine or mere imitations is by placing them in water and shining a light on them. Imitation diamonds lose their sparkle when submerged, but real diamonds continue to brightly glisten. The contrast between the real and the imitation is apparent even to the unskilled eye. Like genuine diamonds, we too will continue to shine with God's brilliance even when the waters of difficulty and sorrow overwhelm us, if we stay in the light of His presence.
- By Curtis Peter Van Gorder

* * * * * * * * * * *

Stick to Your Job
Diamonds are only chunks of coal
That stuck to their jobs, you see;
If they'd petered out, as most of us do,
Where would the diamonds be?
It isn't the fact of making a start,
It's the sticking that counts. I'll say,
It's the fellow that knows not the meaning of fall,
But hammers and hammers away.
Whenever you think you've come to the end,
And you're beaten as bad as can be,
Remember that diamonds are chunks of coal,
That stuck to their jobs, you see.
--Minnie Richard Smith

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