Carbon is a soft natural material, but it is also the raw material from which diamonds—the hardest substance on earth—are made. How does that happen? Diamonds are formed 75 to 120 miles below the earth’s surface. When carbon buried deep in the earth is put under extreme pressure, and when the temperature is at least 192 degrees Fahrenheit, the carbon changes into diamonds. Scientists discovered that there have been only three times during Earth’s history when diamonds were made, and the planet no longer makes diamonds as it once did. Diamonds are highly valued as jewelry. Maybe your mother or father has a diamond ring. Diamonds are also valued in industry. A diamond saw blade will cut through almost anything.
In the Scripture verse for today, the Apostle Paul describes being harassed, or troubled, on every side. He was under extreme pressure, but God used that pressure to change Paul from an ordinary person into an extraordinary man of God. And God can do the same thing for us. When we feel like everything is pushing on us so hard we cannot stand it, it could be that God is changing us from soft material into a beautiful diamond that he can use.
Dear Lord, I hate to be under pressure. Help me to understand, though, that you can use my troubles to create something new and beautiful in my heart. Amen.