A number of years ago my kids and I traveled deep into the desert of Utah on a rock hounding trip. We traveled a few hundred miles to Topaz Mountain where we started prospecting for Topaz and Garnets, we had great fun and success cracking open the rock matrix called rhyolite to reveal gems.
Millions of years ago volcanoes erupted over the western part of Utah, blanketing the area with lava and hot ash in some places hundred of feet deep. The ash covered trees bushes and grasses. The searing heat burned the organic material out, leaving pockets of gas. As the ash slowly cooled, gem crystals grew inside the pockets. The ash hardened and became compressed in to a mountain of this ge -bearing rhyolite. At Topaz Mountain the gas, minerals, and environment were just right to grow Garnets and Topaz. Mother nature used heat, pressure, and time to create hidden treasures from common materials found in a destructive volcano.
Many gems are formed in similar fashion. Diamonds are born from carbon if it is placed under extreme pressure and heat. Gold is purified through the refiner's fire. Rubies and garnets are found in the lowest layers of the Grand Canyon where the rock layers have been under extreme pressure for millions of years. It is fair to say that gems are not made without pressure and heat.
We are in many ways like gems. Most people grow and develop through the pressures experienced in life. Other people's impurities are burned out in the fiery yet refining furnace of adversity. Although it never feels pleasant or comfortable going through our rough patches, yet through these very places we are taught the greatest, strengthened the most, and perfected the best. Through the crucible of adversity we are reshaped, reborn, and refined with the potential to become beautiful gems and treasures of the world.
Laura Story's song embodies the idea that our trials are frequently blessings in disguise. It touches my heart and speaks to my soul. So when we are in the thick of our trials, we might do well to step back, take a deep breath, and ask "What is it I need to learn from this experience?" An corollary plea would be. "Help me Lord learn the right thing from this experience!"