Mica

All That Glitters

Up in the mountains of North Carolina, we camped along a rushing mountain stream.  Exploring along the stream, we saw shining rocks everywhere! Of course the first thing to jump into my mind was a picture of a gold prospector from 1849 sitting alongside a mountain stream panning for gold.  Here we were, in 2015, with shining rocks everywhere! We’d struck it rich!!  But no, all those glittering rocks were not gold.  Doing a little homework a few days later on the road, we discovered that the mountains there are full of mica.  Mica is shiny and plentiful, but do you have any idea how many things it’s used for??  Here’s a short list of things containing mica (and why):

  • Plastics in your car (dimensional stability, reduces warp, improves acoustic properties)
  • Anti-corrosive and marine paints (reduces cracking and water penetration, scrub resistant)
  • Joint cement (easier to sand)
  • Cement (resistant to temperature extremes)
  • Welding rods
  • Brake linings (improves friction while reducing transfer of heat)
  • Fire extinguishers (aids powder flow)
  • Gaskets (resistant to acids, heat, gas and oil; reduces shrinkage)
  • Fire-resistant insulation (dimensional stability, resistant to heat)
  • Toothpaste (mild abrasive, and it’s sparkly!)

So, no, all that glitters is not gold. That doesn’t necessarily make it useless junk though, either. Before scientists began experimenting with the properties of mica to figure out what it’s good for, people were using it for decoration by adding it to paint or starching small flecks of it onto clothing. But now, thanks to experimentation and accumulated knowledge, we know that we can use mica in jet engine ignition systems because of its resistance to extreme temperatures. Could gold handle that?  I think not!

Have you been disappointed with reality? Are you in a situation that is not all it was cracked up to be (or maybe it has cracked you up!)? Are you in a trial of life? Let that circumstance refine your heart.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. ~1 Peter 1:7

Is there someone in your life you had high expectations of, but who failed to be the person you expected them to be? You thought you had gold, but you’ve ended up with mica. Don’t despair! Take the time to find and focus on the good, and you may find that you’re better off than you would be had you found real gold. That person is of great worth in God’s eyes…ask Him to help you see them as He does. He asks us to love…

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ~1 Corinthians 13:7

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