Whilst doing the washing up one evening I mused on the fact that although our frying pan was getting quite old the non-stick surface was still in very good condition, (pity I can’t say the same about the person doing the washing up!).
The story behind the coating on our everyday saucepans is quite remarkable as it was a pure accident that it was discovered.
In 1938 Roy J. Plunkett was working in New Jersey for the DuPont chemical company. As Plunkett attempted to make a new refrigerant, the gas he was using stopped flowing before the bottle’s weight had dropped to the point signalling “empty.” Rather than becoming angry or frustrated he became curious as to the source of the weight, and finally resorted to sawing the bottle apart. He found the bottle’s interior coated with a waxy white material that was oddly slippery, He could have simply thrown the bottle away and dismissed the incident as a freak incident and obtained a new gas bottle but he was intrigued. Analysis showed that the waxy substance was polymerised perfluoroethylene, with the iron from the inside of the container having acted as a catalyst at high pressure. DuPont patented the new fluorinated plastic, PTFE (Polytetrafluroethene), in 1941 and registered the Teflon trademark in 1945. Since then the product of this happy accident has got on to be used in everything from the humble saucepan to the NASA space shuttle.
When faced with a problem or a challenge Plunkett did not become angry or frustrated and give up he persevered in his investigations and so a whole new area of polymer chemistry and engineering was born.
The Bible tells us that we have a God who never gives up and always perseveres. In the Old Testament Moses tells the people not to give up.
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: ‘Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their ancestors to give them; and you will put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)
Later the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews challenged the early church who were drifting back into old ways of thinking and living
“Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence,
‘The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
How do you cope when beset with problems? Is it “If at first you don’t succeed – give up!”? Or do you persevere to find a solution, a way through your difficulties?
I admit at times it is not easy. During the lockdown having to use a computer for delivering worship still leaves me feeling frustrated and worn-out but also determined to try and find a way of doing things better next time.
So take a deep breath, keep trying and remember God has not given up you and is with you in all your struggles and problems.
God bless and stay safe,