Last Thursday, in “The Pearl, Part 2”, we saw that Jesus used the pearl, a gem that was unvalued and considered “unclean” by the people of His day, to teach us that the “pearls” we will grow out of our trials should be sought after at all cost, even to ourselves. He used this gem to teach us that we must have a heart that is open and searching or we may not even recognize that the pearls of wisdom that can only develop from trials and hard times are of any value at all. But are the “pearls of wisdom” really worth the personal cost?
Let’s take a look at the last time the Bible mentions pearls: “The twelve gates were made of pearls–each gate from a single pearl!” (Rev. 21:21 NLT).
Notice that the “gates” being described here are the portals through which one must pass in order to enter or exit the New Jerusalem. Imagine the intensity of suffering it would take to cause an oyster to develop a pearl the size of a gate! Let’s also remember what Jesus says about gates into Heaven: “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7 NIV).
The fact that the “gates” of the New Jerusalem are represented by gigantic pearls helps us to remember that in order to enter into life eternal, we must go through Jesus; and in order for Jesus to become this “gate”, He had to endure ultimate suffering and even death. It was His pain that brought us the ability to enter into life eternal. He is the “pearl of great price”, the “pearl” that is only found if we diligently seek it, the “pearl” that many will be too proud to realize they need.
Just as Jesus is our ultimate example (1 Peter 2:21-25), our “irritations”, the suffering and pain of this life, can be used to mold and make us, to teach us the “pearls of wisdom” that Solomon urges us to seek (SeeProv. 4:5,6). And just maybe, this same suffering and pain that life throws our way may open the door for ultimate good for others as well!
But wait a minute. Is this act of comparing our own suffering to Jesus’ suffering on the cross truly correct? After all, Jesus’ suffering opened the gates of Heaven, and nothing we do, no matter how wise, will ever earn us our Salvation (SeeIs. 64:6). Why, then, is it so important to seek these “pearls of wisdom”? Why must we endure the problems of life to grow them?
In order to answer this, let’s remember the story of the potter and the clay: “‘Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message there.’ So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be.” (Jeremiah 18:2-4 NIV. See alsoIsaiah 64:8).
In His letter to Timothy, Paul instructs us to strive to be instruments that are excellent enough to be used in God’s hands: “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (1 Tim. 2:20-20 NIV). In order for us to be the vessels God asks us to be, we need to be molded by Him. This molding process isn’t fun, but it is necessary if we are to strive to be the, “instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
If Jesus endured intense suffered for the ultimate good, then we must once again ask ourself: What will we do in the face of the trouble that has come upon us? Will we be like most living creatures and watch and worry as it festers and spreads? Will we try to remove it, and in the process, remove some of ourselves as well? Or will we, like the oyster, use the negative circumstances to form a pearl of wisdom that can be used to mold us and make us into that special instrument to be used by the Master’s hand?
Remember that it is only through intense suffering that Jesus was able to open the gates of Heaven, and it is often only through the trials and “irritants” of life that we, also, are able to be molded and formed into something beautiful. I urge each of you today, in the face of your dire circumstances, to be an oyster. Allow that “irritant”–that horrible circumstance you find yourself in–to be used by God to form a pearl, a pearl of wisdom, a pearl to be sought after, a pearl that may actually work for the ultimate good of mankind.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “The Pearl” mini-series, please click here.)