I was reading the other day and came across the explanation we have all heard many times. The explanation of how a pearl comes to be.
The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. It's kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster's natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl. (http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/marine-life/question630.htm)
Tonight as I was talking with a few friends of mine who were recounting their personal history and what God had delivered them from I was reminded once again of the story of the pearl. What hit me was that at the center of every pearl is the source of irritation.
I have heard this analogy over and over in church. How God can take things in your life that are bad and turn them into something good if you let Him but what I had never thought of before and what I have never heard in a sermon on the subject is how the source of irritation is never removed. The oyster begins a process of covering the irritant with a substance called nacre as stated above. The same substance which creates the shell. The nacre is created from minerals in the oyster's food. The more nutrient rich the oyster's diet the stronger the shell. The closer we walk with God and live on a steady diet of His Word the stronger we will become spiritually.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7
The shell is there to protect the oyster from harm. Like the oyster we have protection from harm as well in our Lord Jesus Christ. That protection is there inside and out! Even those things that we hide deep down inside away from every one else. God sees them and starts to coat them in his protective coating so that they don't continue to cause irritation and damage to us. The oyster must deal with the
irritation. It cannot simply ignore it and move on. It must move it around on all sides so that the whole things is coated creating a beautiful smooth surface. We too must deal with those things that are irritating or painful for us so that God is better able to create something beautiful out of them. This is by no means an easy process but it is necessary. God will not force you to deal with such things but if you let Him he will let you see the pearl that is created from them.
The pearl will always have the source of the irritation at its center. The thought of this really brings Genesis 50:20 to life:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Those things in your life that have been a great source of pain. The things that seems to constantly surface and remind you of the irritation are the things that God turns into something useable for...the saving of many lives. Yet we constantly ask God to remove those things from us or to deliver us from them. Instead we should pray that God would use them for good. For His good so that many lives can be saved. We should value them just as the world values and pays a high price for pearls - irritants and all. They can become our priceless treasures! These pearls are the very things that God will use to help you connect with someone who needs His touch in their life. The common ground that will open the door of someone's heart to welcome in the Savior.