Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. –James 1:2-4
It begins with an irritant. A small piece of sand usually enters an oyster… and somewhere between three and six years later, produces a perfect pearl. The oyster coats it with layers of nacre, which, after years of this process, becomes a beautiful pearl.
Personally, I don’t like irritants—especially ones that last six years! (This could be anything from traffic jams to relatives who it takes serious prayer to be around and still be able to remain calm) However, like the sand in an oyster, God can use irritation in our lives to create beauty and cause us to grow.
Going through trying times is not pleasant, and James doesn’t tell us to pretend we are happy in the midst of it, but to consider it an opportunity for joy. God gives us a promise that we can “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3b-4).
Through hurt, pain, and ugliness, oftentimes, God creates a type of beauty in each of us. Without the irritation, God usually cannot create such beautiful final products.
Not all oysters produce perfect pearls naturally. In every three tons of oysters, you are likely to find only three or four that make what would be considered a perfect pearl. Similar to a pearl, when we embrace the struggle or irritation in our lives, God can use it to make us into something beautiful. Can you reframe the way you look at it? “This complaining person gives me an opportunity to show grace.” , or “This ill family member helps me practice the spiritual gift of serving others.”
When we run from or ignore our pain, it is hard for us to learn from it and see God’s hand in it. Is there an irritant in your life God may be calling you to look at differently?
Embracing the rough times and trusting God will ultimately help on the road to becoming a pearl.