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 takes an oyster somewhere between three and six years to produce a perfect pearl. The process begins with a small piece of sand or other irritant entering the oyster. The oyster then coats it with layers of nacre which, after years of this process, we come to know as a pearl, like we see on necklaces in jewelry stores.
Like the sand in an oyster, God uses a little irritation in our life to create beauty. A friend once told me that she never prayed for her children to be happy. For if they were always happy, she said, how would they ever develop character and experience personal growth?
Going through trying times is not pleasant, and James does not 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). It is through the hurt, pain, and ugliness that, oftentimes, God creates beauty in each of us. Without the irritation, God cannot create in us a beautiful final product.
It is said that not all oysters produce perfect pearls naturally. In every three tons of oysters, you are likely to find only three or four that make a perfect pearl. When we embrace the struggle or irritation in our lives, God uses it to make us into something beautiful. When we run from or ignore our pain, it is hard for us to learn from it and see God’s hand in it. Embracing the rough times and trusting God will ultimately help you become all God is training you to be.
1. How have you seen God use trials in your life to create beauty in you?
2. We will all face struggles. What can you do in your life to learn from those trials?
Romans 5:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5; 1 Peter 1:6-9