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Michel: May your pressures and difficulties turn you toward God

My friend Amy’s mother loved owls so much that she started to collect anything bearing a picture of an owl. Word soon got out and owl-related objects began to appear as gifts and souvenirs. Finally, after opening another assortment of birthday presents inspired by her favorite bird, she made a wise decision.

“I have an announcement,” she said. “I have decided to stop owls. From now on I am collecting diamonds.”

Now that’s a gem of an idea! Few would argue the beauty of a diamond. What once began as a lump of carbon is transformed by extreme heat and pressure into a clear, sparkling jewel.

People are sometimes referred to as diamonds in the rough – rich in potential, yet still in need of a little polish. The method of chipping away to get to the diamond inside of us may not involve the severe methods of producing the sought-after jewels, but sometimes it feels like it.

The pressures of jobs, relationships, finances, and/or health are often extreme. J. Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, once said, “It matters not how great the pressure is, only where the pressure lies. If we make sure it never comes between us and our Lord, then the greater the pressure, the more it presses us to Him.”

Problems and difficulties prompt me to run to God for help. In Romans 5:3,4 Paul writes that sufferings produce perseverance, which in turn produces character and hope. I pray for the ability to see challenges as a force that can be used to sand out my rough edges, polish away my imperfections and chip away at anything that prevents me from reflecting the facets of God’s character.

Ronny Michel can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.