Treasures of Darkness
On the Process of Perfection (Maturity) in the Life of the Believer

"He knoweth the way that I take. When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10)

by Diane Dew 

      Deep in the center of the earth, a diamond is formed. Though many will admire its beauty and usefulness, when its formation is complete, none views the process by which it is formed. It is hidden, unseen, in the darkness.

      So is the work of God in the heart of man.

      During a particularly difficult time in my life, I was "in the dark" on why things were going the way they did. Everything seemed to be going wrong, and I didn't understand why. As soon as one catastrophe subsided, another surfaced. Every aspect of my life was under attack. At the time, it seemed I was "stuck" somehow in a downward spiral; I didn't know if things would ever turn around. A single mom, I was broke, unemployed, homeless (evicted without reason) - and very discouraged. 

     "Well, at least we have our health," I commented to a friend. 

     Then my son was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. With no place to live, I slept on a cot in his hospital room. Weeks later, after he began to make enough progress to be discharged, the doctor wouldn't let us leave unless I got a car so that I could rush him to the hospital if he began to have heart problems from the chemo, which would continue for eight months. 

     It was January in Wisconsin, and below-zero outside. Jon's counts were so low he was very susceptible to getting sick - with no immunity to fight off infection. I tried to call my ex, who was living out of state, to tell him what was going on in his son's life - and for financial help. He kept hanging up on me. 

     Someone at the hospital suggested we stay across the street from the hospital, at a Ronald McDonald House, and take the shuttle daily to Jon's doctor appointments and treatments. With eight more months of treatments ahead of us, however, I couldn't figure out how we'd get by. The limit on staying at there House was three weeks, and the day came when we had to leave. A family offered to take my son in - but not me. Another family decided to let me stay in their basement.

     It was difficult not to be with my son during his chemo treatments - he was my only child. I returned to work and tried to "hang in there," waiting for things to turn around.

    At times, the pressure was so intense, I felt I could bear no more. It was especially difficult because even though I knew the Lord was in charge of my life, I did not understand why he was allowing so many things to happen, and all at the same time! 

     I had no one to lean on but Jesus, no hope but what I read in His Word. He had promised to always be with me, to never leave me or forsake me. At times, the trials became so intense, the pressure so exhausting, that I felt I could crack. (Some diamonds, under pressure, do just that.) I kept asking God for understanding and faith to go on.

     One day, the revelation came just as suddenly as when God spoke: "Let there be light - and there was light." I was browsing in the Salvation Army Thrift Store, trying to stay warm. I picked up a book on Geology. To this day, I have no idea why I even opened the book; it was not a topic I had ever studied or been interested in. But as I read, the Holy Spirit revealed to me exactly what was happening in my life, from an Eternal perspective. I could not put the book down!

     So many parallels applied to my life directly. As I began to see a purpose behind all the seemingly terribly circumstances in my life, and realize that this time of testing was only temporary, I began to have hope. These trials had an eternal value, but the testings would not continue forever. Like Peter said, they were only "for a season" - not forever! (1 Peter 1:12; 5:10) Somehow it helped just to know there was a reason behind it all! I suddenly "snapped out of" the deep depression that had held me captive for months! 

     I would like to share some of the insights God gave me at that time.

What we're made of
     Difficulties certainly show us (and the world) what we're made of. God shields us, however, and only lets us see as much as he knows we can handle at the time. During the year my son was going through chemo and radiation treatments, I had no idea that, two years later, I also would be diagnosed with cancer - and months later, my mother would die of the same. 

He knows the way we take
"The Lord knows the way through the wilderness." When we can't figure out what to do or where to go, He is here and He is there - and all the way between. "He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me I shall go forth as gold." (Job 23:10)

There is an eternal purpose
      God showed me that in those places of darkness, where no one sees or knows what's going on, He was forming me into something beautiful in the Spirit; he was strengthening me for a place of usefulness in His kingdom -- just as diamonds have a unique place of usefulness in industry; they can cut through anything.

This process is necessary
      Two conditions are necessary for the formation of diamond: heat and pressure. In fact, the only substance that can polish a diamond, because of its hardness, is another diamond. 

The unseen process
     The most notable use of diamond is as gems. But diamonds don't start out that way. They must be subjected to the process that will develop their beauty and usefulness. Similarly, the work of God in the heart of man is hidden, unseen. 

The most valuable gem
     Because of the brilliance, hardness, and rarity of diamond, it is the most famous gem. But what makes it rare or valuable? Amazingly, although diamond is the strongest substance in the world, it is made from the same substance (carbon) as common sand -- which we walk on, and cats defecate in. What makes diamonds valuable is what they've gone through!

Cut, shaped, polished
     Even after we surrender our lives to Jesus, a process must take place: we must be cut, shaped and polished, if we are to shine for Him.

     We must learn to trust that He's in charge of our lives - even (especially!) when it looks like nothing's happening. His best work is taking place in us when it seems nothing is going on. Like the diamond, or gem, deep in the center of the earth - its "trouble" is its strength.

     The Greek word for "tribulation" is "pressure." Scripture says that "all those living godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer tribulation." It's a promise of God. We seldom view tribulation as a promise. But when we see there's a purpose behind it, an eternal purpose - when we realize that we are being formed into the image of His Son, to reflect his glory, to shine for him - the trials become easier to bear.

     If we submit to His work in our lives, we will be transformed. If we demand to be released from the pressure, sometimes the Lord provides a way of escape, that we can endure it - but then we miss out.

Diamonds in the rough
     Both sand and diamonds are made of carbon. One we walk on, the other we guard behind locked doors. The difference is what they've gone through. The pressures and trials of life can either make us or break us.

     We are all diamonds in the rough. The choice is ours. We can be common sand or we can be transformed into something greater, something more useful, something beautiful for him.

Our value and strength in God
     Our value in God depends upon the choices we make daily: whether to trust Him and submit to His dealings in our lives, or pull away in mistrust. Diamond has long symbolized the qualities of purity and strength. The process involved in its formation renders the substance virtually indomitable: the hardest surface known to man.

A separation of impurities
     "Processing" of diamond ore involves a separation. Diamonds must be sorted from the other materials surrounding it. This process relies primarily on diamond's high density - by use of a pan or swirling motion. We might feel as though things are out of control - but we must trust that God is on the throne. Everything that touches us, he knows and has approved. Even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, Jesus said. And he knows the very number of hairs on your head - even as they fall out, one by one, during chemo. He is Emanuel: "God with us." 

     And he will never, ever forsake you.

© Copyright 1998 Diane S. Dew


Composition: Diamond is composed solely of carbon - the chemical element fundamental to all life - but in its most concentrated form. It is also extremely pure, containing only trace amounts of boron and nitrogen. It is the transparent form of pure carbon.

Conditions of Formation: Heat & Pressure: Diamond is amazingly dense - much denser than graphite, which forms near the earth's surface. This implies formation at high pressure.

Structure:  Diamond is extraordinarily hard - while graphite, also made of carbon, is exceedingly soft. Diamond is transparent; graphite is metallic black.

Hardness:  The only substance that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. Hardness is the measure of a substance's resistance to being scratched. Diamond is the hardest substance known.

Durability: Durability is the capacity to withstand abuse. Hardness - resistance to scratching - is one measure of durability. The relative resistance to fracture is another. Although diamond is extraordinarily hard and is not fragile, it has a plane of weakness in its structure, a cleavage, along which it can be split. All substances, even diamond, can break or shatter.

Dispersion: The most prized attribute of a colorless diamond, its glinting spectrum, is its most prized attribute. It is the result of its great dispersion - the refraction and separation of white light into rainbow colors. 

Refraction: The value of diamond is in its brilliance and luster - which result from its capacity to refract light (that is, to bend light, scatter light, and reduce the velocity of light passing through it). 

Thermal Conductivity: Diamonds are cold to the touch. In fact, they actually extract heat away from the area they touch. Diamond slices rapidly through ice because it transmits heat from the fingers holding it.

Electrical Conductivity: Normally, diamond is a poor conductor of electricity. However, rare diamonds, particularly the gray-to-blue ones, are semiconductors, and are somewhat conductive.

Fluorescence & Phosphorescence: Some diamonds can glow in the dark. When illuminated by ultraviolet light, they can absorb the high-energy ultraviolet and re-emit the energy as visible light.



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We are precious to God.
Isaiah 43:4

God calls us his jewels.
Malachi 3:17; Zechariah 9:16; Isaiah 62:3

We are his treasure.
Proverbs 8; Exodus 19:4, 6; Psalm 135:4

He delights in us.
Isaiah 62:4, 5

We are his desire. 
Song of Songs 7:10; Psalm 132:13, 14; Isaiah 62:4

God is possessive of his people. 
Ezekiel 44:15, 16; 16:8b; Psalm 4:3; 135:4; Malachi 3:17; Isaiah 43:1b, 21





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