Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Pearl of Great Price

What is a pearl? It's a gem, a precious jewel. People travel the whole world over to find them. A perfect pearl is completely spherical and even in color, texture, hues, sheen and lustre. A pearl is made when some kind of irritant - a parasite or piece of grit - gets inside the shell and the animal builds a layer of 'nacre' around it in order to get relief.

What has gotten under your skin? What has been irritating you lately? Family, friends, work, church, traffic or road rage?

How do we handle it? Do we get mad, get even, gossip, or do we do nothing at all? We say things like "Why is it that all the [angry, sad, whatever] people seem to be drawn to me like a magnet?" We try to rationalize - "This must be my new calling/ministry. This is where God is leading me." But have we ever stopped to think about what is really happening? If we are crossed by someone who was argumentative, talkative or who is in a fit of road rage then perhaps these are issues in our own life that require attention, especially if it takes us to the point of feeling the strong and overwhelming desire to express ourselves (read Psalm 139:23-24).

God is speaking to us not necessarily about ministry, but about areas we need to work on. We sometimes look at a negative situation and say that the enemy is attacking us when really what it is, is spiritual healing. People testify in church about how someone did something to them and they attribute that to Satan sending that person in order to quench their spirit. This would be true if that person is totally led by the Holy Spirit, with both feet planted firmly on the ground, because this person's life is so full of pearls that they have more than enough to share. However, for the rest of us this is, more often that not, God's way of calling attention to our own 'self mission'. Over time as the layers of faith and trust build up a precious gem will be formed until what was once an irritation is no longer recognizable as such and only the beauty and lustre of the pearl is seen.

In James 1:2-4, James tells us to "Consider it pure joy...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 [perfect] and complete, not lacking anything" (NIV). We need to take the irritants of each day and wrap them in a layer of faith and trust, believing that our loving Father would not allow his precious daughters to go through these things alone.

Our suffering, perseverance and victory become our testimony with which we can help others, and each time we persevere we get stronger. There is a strong woman inside of us and even though this process is a slow one, we look forward to the end result - a beautiful, lustrous pearl.

God Bless You My Sisters

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