Pressure Makes Diamonds: Gaining Strength Through Tribulation
Have you ever wondered how diamonds are made? I remember as if it was yesterday going to Diamonds Direct and selecting the ring I would offer Kailey, in exchange for putting up with me for the rest of time. And like most men who have been in the same situation, I saw the sticker price on some of those diamonds offered by the jeweler and wondered to myself, “What in the world did these things go through to be this expensive?” (If my wife is reading this article, I would like it to be noted for the record, that she was and is worth every penny).
But in all seriousness, what is it about diamonds that make them so special? The glimmer, the beauty and the symbolic wealth of these minerals is something that people across the world have always striven to obtain. And despite the vanity label some may put on diamonds, I think there’s something quite valuable we can learn from the diamond.
What Makes a Diamond?
Through extensive Google searching, I found out that “the extreme heat and pressure combines actually modified graphite, a crystalline carbon, on the atomic level. This restructures graphite’s molecular composition from a hexagonal sheet pattern into a triangular shape, resulting in diamond. It’s interesting how one the most valuable, beautiful and strongest minerals on earth were formed through the most intense of pressures and processes.
In many ways our lives should be viewed in the same way. It’s human nature to think that the best results in life are yielded as a result of easy circumstances, but if you read the stories of any famous athlete, musician, author, etc. it’s pretty easy to see that is not the case. And even though most of us will not go on to play in the Super Bowl, win a Grammy, or write the next great American novel, we will experience just as many hardships in life.
Fortunately for us, the bible reminds us quite often that hardships in life can mold us into something quite remarkable. Romans 5:3-5 tells us that, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
A Biblical Example of Biblical Suffering
Someone who best exemplifies this passage would be the Apostle Paul. During his ministry, he endured countless lashings and beatings, he was stoned, ship wrecked three times, and thrown in prison. While enduring these things, Paul prayed to God, hoping He would remove this thorn from his flesh, but in 2 Corinthians 12 we are told that, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul understood that these afflictions served a greater purpose, and those hardships molded him into something, that we are able to learn from even thousands of years later.
Over the last couple of years, there have been times where I wondered if these hard times were God’s way of punishing me. But with time and with the right people around me, I came to realize these tribulations were not a punishment, but rather a part of my life that allowed me to gain a perspective I didn’t have before.
Reaping Rewards for the Hard Times
Now, I don’t write this article and mention my story, as if it’s some kind of badge of honor or a “woe is me” moment. I’m sure there are a several people reading this now, who are going through hard times in their lives, and I’m hoping to share words of encouragement that can get you through it even if for a brief period of time. At the time I was writing this article, I had someone reach out and remind me of Psalm 125:5-6, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” They said that while they may not know what hardships I was going through, God tells us, that if we are going to harvest joy, we have to do some sowing in tears.
God promises great rewards to us, but many times we have to endure the hard times, before we receive that reward which he has promised for us. And so, my prayer for you this week is that you may gain the strength to endure your tribulations one day at a time, and that you take to heart the words of Peter Marshall, “when we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.”