On a trip to Los Angeles, I was excited to visit a museum I had not been to in many years: the Museum of Natural History. Eagerly anticipating huge displays of dinosaur bones, I was not disappointed. Remnants of large lizards from long ago filled the large halls and display cases, reminding me anew of the incredible variation in God’s creation.
What really surprised me on this visit, however, was the room filled with geologic crystals. It was a display I had apparently forgotten about. Talk about God’s creation! The variety of colors and rock formations from all over the world was astonishing and beautiful.
When I got to the display of amethyst, I paused, utterly amazed. The magnificent purple quartz was embedded deep inside the cavity of an ugly, ordinary rock.
Staring at the glass-encased exhibit, I read the brief explanation of the precious stone’s formation. It explained something about the amethyst being formed by the cooling of heated ground water, silica, and deposits lining the walls of rock cavities. What?
Further research into this process revealed to my inquiring mind that heat and pressure play a role in causing these openings in the rocks which then allows—in some mysterious fashion to my non-scientific understanding—the development of the lovely, shining quartz within. Beauty forming under pressure when the heat is on—from an ordinary, ugly rock.
God seems to work His way in our ugly sin nature in a similar fashion. He applies the heat of duress in our lives, and takes what could be an unattractive shell and infuses it with His perfection through trials that He allows in our lives to change our sinful nature into something of polished refinement.
Crystals of holiness, wrought through the pressures that will mold us into the shining creation He wants us to be.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:6-9 NIV)