Many of you know that I was a Math and Science teacher before I became a writer (which goes to show you that God can do a mighty, transforming work in any of our lives). In my science classroom we did all sorts of experiments. We grew mold in a Petri dish, made rock candy, planted seeds, made weather instruments. Yes, we created all sorts of fun things through our simple experiments and Petri dishes. Now if I were going to create a diamond in a Petri dish, I couldn’t do it. Granted, diamonds are simply crystals made of pure carbon, but they won’t form in the nice pleasant environment of a little Petri dish. Diamonds are formed under the intense heat and immense pressure - only then do we find the most magnificent of gems.
As much as we would like for our lives to be as lovely, comfortable and controlled as life in a Petri dish, most of life doesn’t work out that way. Unexpected circumstances and difficult people can create a certain amount of pressure and heat in our lives. Yet our faith, endurance and strength of character can grow stronger through the challenges in life, much more than in the easy times. Certainly we don’t want to invite difficulties into our life, but when they come we must recognize that God can use them in our lives to form us into beautiful diamonds shining brightly for His glory.
This week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The interesting thing about Saint Patrick is that he did not have a pleasant, easy life. The fact is when he was sixteen years old he was captured by Irish raiders and taken from his native Wales as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the church, he later returned to Ireland as a missionary, spreading the gospel message throughout the land. God used Patrick’s captivity to prepare him to bring the gospel back to the people of Ireland one day in a powerful way.
How can God use your difficult circumstances? You may not be able to see it yet, but good can come from intense heat and immense pressure. Just think of the diamond and remember the words of the apostle Paul who said, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” II Corinthians 4:17 As you celebrate St. Patrick’s day this week, teach your children about the powerful impact Patrick had on the Irish people as he brought the gospel message. Be sure to also tell your kids that Patrick went through great difficulties which perfectly prepared him for his purpose in life.
Be sure to check out my new book which has many positive stories about thriving through difficulties. Thrive, Don't Simply Survive - Passionately Live the Life you Didn't Plan is now in a bookstore near you.