As I sniffed my freshly sterilized laboratory gown, I knew I was up for another tiring day of chemical analysis. I don it and headed down to that big silent room of chemicals and equipment of where only running water and occasional ringing of the phone can be heard.
I thought I have graduated to this kind of work when I assumed the review and release of raw materials job of a chemist. But when my company started to cut down manpower which started a year ago and management learned that I have the background and expertise of chemical testing, with a heavy heart I said “yes” to the request of the management for what they said that it was a temporary dual role for me. It was a painful “yes” because I have never wanted to go back to laboratory analysis simply because it’s physically exhausting.
This day I silently said “Hello” to Loss on Ignition and Acid Insoluble Substances Tests. I scheduled these tests together as both use one equipment. Funny, but I can never dispel this observation that testing echoes real life. In real life, I tend to remember people on things they like to do and group them according to their likes in my heart and that’s how I scheduled work accordingly.
I started everything in a manner just like in the normal secondary science project. I turned on the furnace, then, set the temperature at 610 degrees. I placed inside the room-temperature crucible. The crucible that I used is heavily stained with black specks, as a result of frequent use. It is supposed to be white as it is made of porcelain.
As I opened the furnace, the glaring red heat of 610 degrees blew me away! I have encountered this kind of set-up before, but, back then it all seemed a regular and plain analysis to me. Not until today.
My crucible mightly remained intact at 610º even after 2 hours of heating, without a crack and and undeniably, it has somehow regained it’s whiteness.
The same crucible was re-heated at 825º in the same furnace. When I opened the furnace after an hour, the image was even glorious! Lo and behold, the light emitted from the wall of furnace can serve as the light of that dark box of fumehood. But my eyes got hooked on the image I saw in between the walls of furnace. That black little specks left from 610 degrees-heating were nowhere to be found. My crucible intact and whiter! It has regained it’s original color of white. Wow, here’s the light that melts the black specs and turned my powder to a white ash! What a physical and chemical transformation!
The high intensity of heating made it even cleaner and whiter….finer….shiner and now looks new without it breaking!
Chemical testing echoes real life.
All those high points in my life were preceeded with pain. The heat of pain has been a part of my life and it refined me. The time of rejections made me know myself and cling to the Lord, that one day I would see an open door, too. The time of loss made me value life and the people around me. The time of sickness made me think that life is temporary and short and make the most out of it. There are times when the heart gets overused that it begins to gain black specs just like my crucible but His fire regained its original color. His fire restores life.
My Master Chemist never promised an easy life but He promised He will take me through the pain. He was there in the fire but He was out for a refiner, cleaner and stronger me without my spirit breaking.
“I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33