Picture for a moment an elegant ice sculpture in the shape of a swan.
You adore the sculpture which has been set on a large platter for viewing. But you return the next day to find it has melted to a puddle of water. Someone forgot to place the sculpture in the freezer overnight.
You feel heart-broken and angry. Just then, someone tells you, “Don’t worry. This ice sculpture was made from a special kind of water that has a built-in memory.” So he puts the platter full of water into the freezer. And, as you look through the window of the freezer, you see a miracle take place. The puddle of water returns to the shape of a beautiful swan.
Sound insane? Well, two scientists working at Rice University have developed a polymer that does this very thing. This “memory” material is made from a combination of a crystalline polymer embedded within an “elastomer.” Dr. Rafael Verduzco and graduate student Morgan Barnes explain that, when the polymer is heated to a liquid they pour it into a mold of any shape. The shape can be very sophisticated. Then they cure it with ultraviolet light.
When the casted shape is cool (room temperature) the crystalline molecules are dominant. When the sophisticate shape is heated the crystalline molecules relax and give in to the elastomer. The shape becomes a shapeless and rubbery two dimensional sheet of material. But when allowed to cool again, it returns to its three dimensional, sophisticated shape. The article in ScienceDaily.com included a photo of the shape of a human face to which the polymer returned after cooling.
This amazing polymer reminded me of the believer in Jesus Christ. He or she sometimes melts in the heat of temptation. But they always return to their true form once they find relief.
The most memorable example is the Apostle Peter. Under normal circumstances, Peter was a promising disciple. He was the one who boldly confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:13–19). It was Peter who, alone, stepped out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus (Matt. 14:28–33). In fact, when Matthew lists the Apostles, he calls Peter “the first” or “the foremost” among them (Matt. 10:2).
But under a certain temptation involving peer pressure and disapproval, Peter melted into something that didn’t even resemble an Apostle of Jesus. Under the heat of temptation he melted into a denier of Jesus. Yes, it’s true that once the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, Peter became a powerful witness. But we only have to read Paul’s account of Peter in Galatians 2:11–14 to find that he was still vulnerable to the same peer-dependency temptations of the past.
But let’s not miss the critical point here. The true Peter was the devout disciple of Jesus. His true colors were that of an Apostle who loved Christ. That’s the person he bounced back to under normal circumstances. Under the fire of testing and trial, yes, Peter’s character morphed into a puddle. But God would slowly correct that. Trial after trial, God would strengthen the man inside Peter. God would do so until this man of jelly would withstand the months of torture in Rome’s Mamertine prison and eventual crucifixion on Vatican Hill.
But until that time would come, the distinguishing feature of a true believer was ever-present in Peter’s life. From every failure under the heat of temptation, Peter always bounced back. He always returned to his true form.
Let that be true of us all. Though you’ve fallen and you’re devastated by your own failures, rise up. Bounce back to the true you. And keep following Jesus. Step by step God will bring you to the place in which the true you is dominant, even under the worst of circumstances. “So all of us who have had that veil removed from our eyes can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Cor. 3:18, NLT).
Dear Father in heaven, into Your loving and capable hands I commit my soul and my eternal destiny. Please forgive and cleanse me. Please motivate me to do Your will. And please transform me into the image of Your dear Son. Amen.
Information from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181220111802.htm
In article photo: food by the U.S. Army licensed under CC BY 2.0