This amazing picture is of the Naica Mine in Mexico. Located 1000 feet below the earth’s surface, it contains some of the world’s largest crystals (Look closely; those orange spots are people!). The heat and humidity are so intense (up to 136°F and 99% humidity) it can be fatal.* Workers must don special suits to survive the extreme conditions. Yet the same conditions that can kill a human being also help produce these massive, beautiful crystals.
We’ve all been through those seasons of life when the pressure is so intense we feel we might not survive. Most of us have also been through those seasons in which we are either working towards change in ourselves, or praying for change in another. In either case, what we are in fact hoping for is evidence that something has changed. Our situation has changed, we have changed, or another has changed. We invest in ourselves and others through prayers, declarations, counseling, schooling, or even medical treatment, and we continue to do so out of faith that it will eventually produce a tangible change. Perhaps you are there now. Perhaps you’ve been investing for so long you feel tempted to give in to discouragement and hopelessness. It feels as though nothing will change. These are the times we must trust that beneath the surface, under all that pressure and heat, God is doing a beautiful work. Interestingly, two sections of the Naica Mine are known as the Cave of Crystals and the Cave of Swords–beauty and strength, respectively. When we are under intense heat and pressure, when we have worked, prayed, and talked through something and have yet to see the tangible change we seek, God is beneath our surface producing crystals of beauty and swords of strength. It all prepares us for what’s ahead and ultimately makes our character look more like Jesus’. Like the mine workers, if we try to get through the heat on our own, we may not survive, but with God’s help we will make it through. He will equip us to do what we cannot do on our own.
If you feel like you have been digging for too long and the enemy is telling you to give up, keep digging! You will eventually find the caves of crystals and swords that God has been producing in you. It may be deep below the surface, but it is there. And it is worth finding.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. –James 1:12
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. –Romans 5:3-5