I don't know a lot about mining for gems, but I have an idea that it's a difficult process. It takes a lot of pressure, tedious work, and maybe even involves a lot of what seems to be excess waste. But somewhere under all the dirt and lava rock layers lies something of great value. Great value. And beauty. And it's worth all the tedious work, all the pressure, all the removal of the unvaluable to find the invaluable. All of these things I know. I have no doubts regarding the value or the fact that it will require great effort to reach the end result of beauty and worth. I have no doubt that it's worth the trouble. But the thought that's running around in my mind at the moment is, how can you be certain there's a gem beneath it all? What if all the work and pressure is being spent on an ordinary rock? And how can you tell the difference between an ordinary rock and a gem without all the work and pressure-- from the outside surface? How do you determine when or if the process should be abandoned? What if you might be about to abandon a real gem? What if you walk away from something of great worth and beauty?
Switching gears, but still related. I love balancing chemical equations. I know, I'm a little bit nerdy. But it's fun; it's a puzzle. Just like scheduling. But that's another topic for another day. In chemical equations, the combination of two or more elements produces something. And on both sides of the equation, everything has to balance out; you can't have more or less than what you started with (in terms of matter) when all is said and done. You have to have the same number of hydrogen/sodium/whatever ions pre-reaction and post-reaction. To me, life doesn't always seem to work like this. Sometimes I wonder as I'm trying to balance on both sides of the equation if maybe I'm coming up one hydrogen short. Everything seems to balance out so well, except for that one little hydrogen ion that seems to be missing. Maybe the problem is me. Maybe I'm just not seeing it; maybe I'm overlooking it. And then I begin to wonder, how important is chemistry in life anyway?
Unrelated now. I came across a profound verse in Exodus yesterday in my devotions. It really deserves a blog post all its own, but for now... here it is.
God saw the people of Israel-- and God knew. Exodus 2:25
This particular verse is referring to the Israelites crying out to God in the oppression of slavery under Egyptian rule. But it really struck me. God saw and God knew. Immediately it called to mind Hagar and Ishmael.
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, 'Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.'
And the angel of the Lord said to her, 'Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.'
So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.' Therefore the well was called Beer-lahairoi.
Exodus 16:7, 8, 11, 13, 14
Ishmael means "God hears." And Beer-lahairoi means "the well of the Living One who sees me."
God saw and God knew. In Hagar's utter despair, as she is about to give up, she is reassured that God, the Living One, sees her. He knows her affliction, He knows her despair; He sees it.
Back to the verse in Exodus 2:25 and its context. Just after that verse, God appears to Moses in the burning bush. Just after that verse, God moves. He sees, He knows, and then, He moves, working on our behalf. Because He is the Great God Who Saves.
Maybe it's not so unrelated after all.