What Makes Us Hard, Brilliant, and Eternal
Quartz is a chemical compound made of one part silicon and two parts oxygen (SiO2). It is the most abundant mineral on the earth’s surface. Most beach sand is made of quartz.
Recently an article appeared on the website Sciencedaily.com which explored the effect meteor impacts might have on quartz. To recreate “meteor impact” conditions a team of scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science used a “cannon-like gas gun” to shoot a projectile into quartz. This generated the pressure of 300,000 atmospheres upon the quartz for one millionth a second. Using a highly sensitive x-ray machine, the scientists could detect the molecular changes the quartz underwent upon impact.
For one millionth of a second, the quartz changed to a state between “fully crystalline stishovite (an extremely hard and dense form of quartz crystal) and a fully disordered glass.” However, this change only lasted for the length of time the pressure was applied. In an instant it returned to its original form. The scientists believe that such pressures exist in the earth’s mantle. However, deep in the earth those pressures are sustained over great lengths of time and give rise to quartz crystal.
The article then made a rather interesting statement. “When a material is subjected to extreme pressures and temperatures, its internal atomic structure can be re-shaped, causing its properties to shift. For example, both graphite and diamond are made from carbon. But graphite, which forms at low pressure, is soft and opaque, and diamond, which forms at high pressure, is super-hard and transparent.”
Therefore, the secret conditions necessary to creating both quartz crystals and diamonds involve three factors. First, of course, is a very common substance, either quartz or carbon. But then three things must be applied: pressure, heat, and time. Only then can their crystalline structure be perfected permanently.
Doesn’t this answer the question of why God allows such relentless tribulation in our lives? The pressure of responsibilities, the heat of affliction, and the prolonged periods we must endure them are all essential to God’s plan of sanctification. As much as we yearn to run from high-pressure situations, God uses them to transform us into something that best reflects His glory. As low-pressure upon carbon only produces the soft and opaque graphite, so is the person who always skirts responsibilities and challenges. He or she only reflects themselves, rather than Jesus Christ.
But for Christian believers who faithfully submit themselves to the Lord’s discipline, they are conformed into the image of Jesus – for all eternity (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 12:4-11). Yes, that’s why God doesn’t whisk us off to heaven the moment we trust in Jesus for salvation. God’s got a whole lot more work to do in our lives which nothing but this world’s tribulation can accomplish. I’d say it takes, on average, about 70 years (give or take a decade or two) of such heat and pressure before God completes His work in us.
But what are 70 years in the light of eternity. They are nothing. And one moment in heaven will erase all of their sorrow. So do not lose heart – or faith – in the furnace of affliction. God is doing something wonderful and eternal in your life.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, sometimes I get so weary of the trials and temptations I must face. Please revive my heart and strengthen my faith in You. Help me to look beyond these present troubles and to see the marvelous and eternal things You are doing in my life. Help me to fix my eyes on Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy that awaited Him. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200826151306.htm)