“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9. Diamonds are beautiful and valuable, but their beginning is common carbon – black, dirty, and combustible. Through years of intense heat and high pressure, they become pure and strong. This makes them a good metaphor for spiritual strength; God uses intense outside forces to rid us of impurities and to perfect His strength in us. When we experience the fiery furnace of suffering – whether physical or emotional, whether persecution from without or humiliation from within – God’s loving purpose is to make us pure and strong. Suffering is the fire that God uses to purify and strengthen us.