«And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit» (l Thessalonians 1:6).
THE THESSALONIANS RECEIVED the message of salvation willingly, welcomed it, and embraced it with all their might. They had become Christians in the midst of great position. To accept the faith was to commit to Christ, with courage and sacrifice. The price to be paid was very high; many times, life itself. But that great tribulation was far surpassed by the joy of surrender. Persecution was a blessing, as it refined and strengthened the bonds of communion with the Lord and among the brethren.
It is also not easy to be a complete Christian in our day. We live together in a society of sin, selfishness, and evil, which often brings us tribulations. The most common questions we ask ourselves are «Why did God allow this to happen to me?» or «Why do bad things happen to good people?»
The mineral kingdom has many mysteries. One of them is the comparison of two rocks that are composed only of carbon and yet are totally different in appearance and hardness.
Graphite is rated on the Mohs Scale with a hardness between 1 and 2, being one of the softest minerals. For its part, the diamond is rated with a hardness of 10, the highest that exists in nature. But both are only carbon. What makes them different?
}Graphite is soft, brittle, gray, and semi-opaque. It is very useful; we use it for our pencils, however, it must be mixed with clay so that it can be used as a pencil lead. It was formed at not extremely high temperatures and with low pressure, which makes the bonds between carbon atoms weak.
The diamond is the most precious rock, has the most beautiful shine, and no other mineral can scratch it. It was not born into a bed of roses, it was formed in the depths of the earth, at very high temperatures and under great pressure. This makes its carbon atoms intertwined in such a way that they give it that hardness, brightness, and transparency.
We are that carbon derived in a gray, opaque, and brittle graphite.
But by God’s grace and the tribulations we face because of our faith, they transform our carbon into a diamond.
Thus, we are made strong, resilient, and pleasant.
The Lord represents us in heaven so that we may be His faithful and joyful representatives of on earth.