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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

           Diamonds shine brightest on the darkest tapestries. As much as we hate it, the same is true with human lives.
            I was recently reading from a biography on radio newscaster and personality, Paul Harvey. Years ago, Harvey’s son, Paul Junior, spent an extensive amount of time researching the story of a boy named Joachim. He was a Jew trapped in the World War II concentration camp of Bergen-Belson.
            As he neared his 13th birthday, Joachim appealed to a rabbi, also a prisoner in the same camp, to help him “celebrate” his bar mitzvah. The rabbi agreed and during the middle of the night, away from anyone who could hurt them, the rabbi gave Joachim his bar mitzvah.
            Afterward, the rabbi also gave Joachim a scroll of the Torah. He told the boy, “I am not going to survive this; I'll die here, and you're going to go on. Take this Torah scroll, and I want you to remind people who see it of what happened here.”
            Shortly thereafter, the Allied army liberated Joachim from the concentration camp. He went on to become an exceptional physicist and had the privilege of working on one of the space shuttle projects. He became acquainted with one of astronauts, and he related to him his story at Bergen–Belsen. He also gave the astronaut the Torah scroll.
            The astronaut was so honored, he decided to take the scroll with him on his mission on the space shuttle Columbia. Tragically, the astronaut, Israeli Air Force Col. Elan Ramon, was killed along with the six other astronauts on Saturday morning, February 1, 2003, over the forests of east Texas as they were descending to land.
            Space shuttles missions had become so routine, even American citizens typically paid them scant attention. Yet, because of this tragedy, the whole world was watching. Consequently, the Columbia tragedy drew the attention of the world to the Torah scroll, and to the story of Bergen—Belsen.
            Adversity in human lives provides the tapestry that allow the “diamonds” to shine brightest.
            Paul is the ultimate example of someone who got this. Consider his encouragement to the Corinthians, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (II Cor. 12:9-10.)

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