Our family is in the “waiting” part of our adoption process – waiting to be matched with our daughter in China. So, while we wait, I’ve been reading up on Chinese culture. Admittedly, I’m a jewelry girl – so when “pearls” popped up during my research – my curiosity spiked! I browsed through countless sights with fun facts about pearls and their history; but it was when I began reading how a pearl is intricately formed that I became captivated.
A pearl is formed when an “irritant” (basically a small foreign object) finds its way into the inside of an oyster. In order to protect itself, the oyster takes defensive action and covers the irritant with a substance called nacre. As long as the irritant remains in the oyster, it will secrete layer upon layer of this silky crystalline coating over it until it is completely encased. Ultimately, the result is a lovely and lustrous pearl.
Now, as I mentioned, we are waiting to matched, which I’m not a fan of – the waiting that is. The waiting feels like a thorn in my side. It has brought out some not-so-proud moments in me and revealed a whole slew of fruits-of-the-spirit that I need to work on. It’s been a humbling experience to say the least – and even a little discouraging to my spirit at times. And more than once I’ve asked God, “Are you sure you I’m the right one for this?”
Well, I just love how God uses his creation to speak to us. You see, as I read about the pearls miraculous process, it struck me just how similar our lives are to an oyster. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us to “not be surprised when trials come upon us.” In fact we are to expect them. But the truth is – trials are hard. They can feel long. And frankly, they are just plain irritating. Truthfully, I believe that if we could – we would spit them out, run from them, rid them from our lives, and move on.
However, that’s usually not an option. So then, what would happen if we chose to embrace those trials – those irritants. What if instead of ignoring them or running from them, we would bathe them in the promises and truth of God’s Word. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Or 2 Corinthians 4:16, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
Do you see it? If we were to spit out the trials and irritants in our lives – we would just stay the same. Just as when an oyster manages to spit out the irritant that’s made it’s way into it’s shell, it remains – just another oyster. But when an oyster allows that irritant to stay, it ever-so-slowly begins to see a change – a transformation. The oyster uses that irritant to create something new and beautiful. We have that privilege as well. When we choose to let God use the trials and irritations in our lives to change use – He renews us and we are transformed – like a grain of sand to a pearl.
The last little nugget is this: The luster of a pearl doesn’t simply imply a shiny surface but rather a structural beauty from inside the pearl. High luster pearls are bright and have a deep-seeded glow that should allow you to see your own reflection clearly on its surface.
Just as the pearl, we can’t just have a shiny outer luster to our lives. We must allow God to use trials to transforms us, establishing a deep-seeded light within, that will reflect the love of our Savior. 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
I’m encouraged to know that even as I struggle with some of the frustrations along our adoption process (and falter in my faith) that God is using it all to transform me to reflect more of who He is. I’m thankful for my humble beginnings and the promise of becoming a precious pearl through Jesus Christ.