To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary we decided to go diamond hunting in Arkansas. The big day was finally here. We paused outside, by the Crater of Diamonds State Park sign to take a selfie. Today was the day we would find two diamonds! Maybe even a whole car-load. Heck, we’d probably need to rent a truck to haul the massive boulder-sized diamond we would unearth back home.
Diamonds have smooth edges, shine from every direction, and contain a special oil that keeps dirt and mud from sticking to them. I had enjoyed researching the different methods to find a diamond. You can surface search, by simply walking around and finding one that’s been brought to the surface, typically by a good rain. There is a dry sifting method using a screen to sift through the dirt. Many like the wet sifting method that, when done correctly, creates a ring of sediment that would contain diamonds, right on top for easy spotting. No matter which method you use, there is no mistaking a diamond when you’ve found one. If you aren’t sure, then it’s not a diamond.
Diamonds are formed through intense heat and pressure then delivered to the earth’s surface by lava. Without excruciating heat and pressure, there would be no diamond. The process that gets the diamond to the surface is also highly intense and disastrous. Another amazing example in nature that shows us how beauty comes from suffering and a long, slow changing process.
Here we were. Expectations set high. We arrived bright and early, excited that it had rained the day before so all those beautiful diamonds would be unearthed, and off we went, eager to find our glittery prize and join the ranks of the special few who had found a diamond. Our dreams were dashed after the first two hours of finding nothing. Could we be like the hundreds of other patrons who leave daily empty-handed? Certainly not, we were part of the special group, we just knew it.
We headed back to the main building for a water-break and a pause from the intense sun and heat. As we cooled-off we moseyed through the displays teaching about the different minerals and diamond hunting methods. We lingered around the mineral identification station to see if anyone else had found a diamond yet. We read testimonials of some of the greats who had mastered the craft of diamond hunting over the years. Then we headed back-out, motivated once again to find our prize.
The night before, in an odd fitful sleep state, I’d realized that more of Jesus should be my goal, not a diamond. As my excitement waned and reality set in, I remembered that getting more of Jesus should be my focus and I paused to pray and ask God how I could get more of Him today.
I saw Him in the two, cute, little toads that hopped across our path. I saw Him in the amazing, glistening spider web being woven across the hiking trail before our very eyes. I saw Him in the glittery ground that contained so many rocks and minerals that sparkled and shone. When we paused to rest a moment in a patch of shade, we saw Him in the giant heart-shaped cloud floating over our heads. He was there. All around us. When we paused and made some space, we could see He was there.
We called it a day and headed back to the car, soaked to the bone in sweat, with big grins on our faces, because we had total peace walking away. Our prize was more of Jesus, not a diamond. He was the hope we needed that would never go away. The experience was enjoyable, challenging, taught us a lot, and we’d taken a risk. We didn’t need to drag it out and get obsessed with the wrong thing. Obediently, we climbed into the car and drove away. Our hearts full.
The outcome is never up to us. Our role is to be obedient, to take risks, and to trust Jesus with the end result. We are thankful to be learning this lesson so that we’re able to enjoy the incredible journey He’s got us on.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7