Pearls of Wisdom

Kara Lee

I recently returned from a vacation that did not turn out anything like I had planned. Instead of spending long hours with family, enjoying the sun, sand and water of our favorite beach, I found myself dealing with a series of unexpected setbacks and challenges.

Just before finally heading home, I stopped at the beach to enjoy its beauty for a few precious moments. I found myself silently asking God why things had turned out the way they had, and quite honestly, feeling a little sorry for myself. As I walked down the beach one last time, I found part of an oyster shell. I recalled something about pearls being formed inside of oyster shells due to some sort of adversity. My memory lacked any details of the process, so I did some quick research.

I learned that pearls are actually formed by a defense mechanism in response to an invading parasite or other irritant, including something as small as a grain of sand. An oyster or other mollusk protects itself against such a foreign object within its shell by repeatedly coating the object with a fluid, producing layer upon layer of what is called nacre. As long as the irritant remains, more and more layers of nacre are added, thereby creating a pearl. The greater the number of layers, the richer the color and iridescence of the pearl.

Romans 5:3 says in part, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” In James 1:2-4, we are told that as we persevere in our trials we are made mature and complete.

As I got back on the road, my perspective was changed. Rather than asking why, I was able to begin to be thankful that, like the oyster, as God layers over our suffering, irritants and trials with His strength, peace, comfort, wisdom, compassion and grace He is able to create people of character and hope and maturity; beautiful pearls for His kingdom, used to draw others to Himself. 

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