Friday, June 20, 2008

Gems in Dark Places

I have been reading Job 28 recently. In this ancient explanation of mining techniques - possibly pre-Abramic - there is one clear message. Precious things come from dark places. "There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore... sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold." None of the animals place any value on these things, or has any idea of the potential beneath their feet. Only man - made in the image of a creator God - sees the potential and has the will and the means to excavate it.

How does this affect me? Well, I am in a dark place at the moment. After high hopes that the dreadful pancreatic pain may finally have been defeated my old enemy is back. I enjoyed 10 weeks of freedom following the celiac plexus block of early April, but now the effects of that have worn off, and I am in need of opiates again. The word 'disappointment' may be long enough, but it's not deep enough to express my feelings.

But then - God's not finished with me yet. Nor with you. Our final chapter has not been written. And out of the dark places real gems can come. Diamonds are formed under immense pressure. They only exist where conditions are dark are hostile. Their beauty comes at a price, both for them and for the one who mines them. Those of you who know your Bibles know all this already. But when I feel discouraged, I like to remind myself of this great truth. God's promises do not depend on our feelings. "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but it appears that the Almighty has an interest in them too.