Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Turning Adversity into Pearls, part 2

Stay tuned for more great posts written by seven fantastic and inspiring women. Two weeks of vacation for me means two weeks of fresh content for you. Enjoy! (And don't forget to comment and let these ladies know that what they write matters.) See ya soon.

...continued from yesterday...

courtesy of single.pearl.necklace.blogspot.com

Adversity can be Good for us

Never having adversity is just plain bad for us. You all know what happens to someone who is given anything their heart desires, and never has to struggle through anything. That person becomes selfish, weak …someone who is self-centred, judgemental, angry when thwarted, and with no compassion. A former major league baseball player, Bobby Valentine said, “If life only had good things, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good things.” And that can be a cancer worse than cancer. 

Remember, no matter how unpleasant or fearful, everything that comes into our lives has been filtered by the fingers of God Himself. He has plan and a purpose for our lives as mentioned in Jer. 29:11. Sometimes that plan has to include adversity to bring us to the hope and the future that He has in store for us, to transform us into a pearl....to not leave us in our “oyster” state.

When you experience a loss, God gives you an even greater gift or blessing in return....first of all, the gift of Himself.  Psalm 138:3 says,

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting.God himself becomes our gift. Nothing is more precious that that!

And, He is gracious with other life gifts as well. After divorce and 12 years of single parenthood, God brought the most amazing man into our lives, my son and I. He is a man filled with such love and faithfulness both to me and my son. My chubby, little, grey haired Barry has been just an amazing gift to my heart. He is my best friend. 

And of course, as I already mentioned, he now has his 2nd cancer. The idea of living without my husband...of losing this gift...is heartbreaking. But, if or when that happens, again, God’s gift to me still will be the great gift of God Himself...to be my strength and comfort...to be my husband...to be my joy. 

Each adversity and loss reveals our trustworthy God, who will never leave us nor forsake us, who gives us strength to persevere in every heartache. Our contentment is not based on  circumstances, but on our relationship with Christ.

Adversity can be Good for Others

Suffering is not superficial. I don’t want to minimize what adversity can do to us.  But, when God says “yes” and allows loss and anguish into our lives, it is for our own good. He may be trying to get our attention. He may be teaching us something.  He may be seeking to minister to those around us. But He hurts with us. He allows us to be human and weak, expects us to be honest…to weep when we need to weep. He treasures our tears.  hey are so precious and valuable to Him that He stores them in a bottle.  Psalm 56:8 says:

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” I love that! My tears stored in a bottle.

And, He wants us to cry out to Him in prayer and supplication. He is so filled with compassion when He hears from our hearts. In Revelation 8:4, we read:

“The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God's holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.

Now, I’m kind of a picture person, so the picture I see is God breathing in our prayers…our prayers becoming a part of His actual being. And of course, when you breath in, you must also breath out.  God breathes out his Presence and Power and Might into our situation. Through our adversity, God wants to show Himself to us and to the world.

We Can't Beat Adversity on our Own

Beyond your own prayers, don’t try to do this adversity thing on your own. Did you know, for safety sake, pearl divers usually work in pairs? Wisdom for our lives as well. Invite other pearl girls to enter into your adversity…for mutual safety, encouragement and strengthening in your adversity.

Sometimes we’re so busy trying to expel the adversity from our lives, rather than allowing the pearl to develop. Over the years, I have often prayed that God do whatever it takes in my life or the lives of my loved ones to accomplish His will. Many of my loved ones still live in the mud and mire…they are far from God.

Could it be that God is answering my prayer by bringing adversity into my life? So they can see how God turned me, an oyster like mess, into a pearl. So that they can see God in the layers? So that God can break into their lives? If yes, then truly God, do whatever it takes. Kind of a frightening prayer, but I really mean it.

Another purpose God may have for your adversity is to be a living pearl to others. There are others silently suffering around you, making the same mistakes you made, experiencing the same heartaches or betrayal you experienced, trying to expel that grit or irritation in all the wrong ways. Did you know, the pearl is the only gemstone created from a still living organism? 

So, use your adversity to minister to living, hurting people around you. Some where, somehow, God came into your life and created a gem…a living pearl, from your pain. God doesn’t want you to waste your pain…He has a purpose for it…use it to help someone else. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says

“The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Pearls from Adversity

Remember the oyster, just living in the mud when something happened. A piece of sand got stuck inside its shell and caused great pain. Rather than expel the sand, the piece of sand became coated. At first, there was no beauty to be seen, but layer after microscopic layer, and with the passing of time, that unexpected source of pain was transformed into a beautiful pearl.

God’s grace covers our pain and transforms it into a beautiful pearl, iridescent, lustrous, reflecting Christ....layers of salvation, raw transparency, honesty, prayer, assurance, trust, patience, rejoicing, gratitude, hope, intimacy, compassion, resting, surrender.

God, who is infinitely wise and skilled, knows just how to care for you. Trust that He is shaping you, layer after pearl layer, into someone beautiful, honourable, and good…able to reflect His glory.

Let God turn the grit of your life into something beautiful…a beautiful pearl, a gem made from a living person, YOU!  A PEARL OF GREAT WORTH!

What adversities have you experienced that God has turned (or still is turning) into pearls?

1 comment:

  1. Just thought I'd stop in and say that I've recently birthed a pearl. :) And I completely identify with this post. All my life, I've been simply living in the adversity. I still am, to a certain extent, but now I'm seeing the purpose of it all. The purpose is mainly to KNOW Him better. But it's also to share what I've been through to help others see that they too can birth a pearl. :)) Thanks for sharing. Loved this post.


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