Story of the Mollusks
Turning an Irritation to a New Creation
I own a beautiful set of pearl necklace. It has 32 beads of pearls in a strand of silver. There is an inspiring story behind each of these single beads. Every time I wear these, I think about how these pearls came to be. Pearl is a hard object made inside the body of a sea animal called mollusk.The finest quality natural pearls are the ones we regard highly as gemstones and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.
It is said that the most valuable pearls occur spontaneously in the wild, but they are extremely rare. They are called natural pearls. Cultured or farmed pearls from pearl oysters and freshwater mussels make up the majority of those that are currently sold. There are also imitation pearls. They are not pearls at all but made to look like pearls. It is easy to spot the difference.
The Mollusk has an inner lining inside their shell. This is called nacre or mother of pearl. This is a thick substance. The function of this nacre is to make a smooth lining inside the shells and to defend the soft tissues from any parasites or small grains of sand that may get trapped inside the shells causing damage to the lining. If anything that causes irritation to the lining happens to get inside the shell, the nacre or the mother of pearl goes into work. It releases layer after layer after layer of this thick substance called nacre and encircles the irritant- the very thing that caused irritation to the soft tissues. The result is a pearl! Pearls are the result of a natural process where a particular creature responds to an irritation in an unusual way. They are valuable because they have a story of transformation. An irritation that was turned into a new creation.
What about us? Do we have an irritation in our life that is eating us away, destroying the soft tissues in our life? The way we respond to it makes us valuable, rare gems in this world and before God. Occasionally we look at some people and say, “he is gem of a person.” What we mean is people like that person are rare. He responded to a certain crisis in an unusual way. That makes him rare, he is a gem.
God is able to give birth to pearls in the most unlikely places if we let him. When grains of crisis wash into our souls, when irritants are unleashed into our life, when they pierce at the soft tissues of our heart, When we think it is a mistake and it does not belong there, when we are in a hurry to get rid of that irritant, remember, a pushed out and forfeited irritant is a lost pearl. It is a choice to receive faith in the dark places and pour life giving grace layer after layer, into an irritant that bores into our soul on every attempt to cover it. It does not make sense to the one who cannot see beyond what it is right then. But to the one who labors to give life in the dark places, there is labor pangs in receiving the mother of pearls, in pouring it over the irritants, layer after layer, not stopping but hoping with each layer that the power of life will outdo the power of sting. Until one day, the transformation happens. A treasure is born. The very thing that tried to destroy is transformed into a gem! Oh irritant, where is your sting?
Sometimes they fake pearls. What they make in their own strength is counterfeit pearls. They are not genuine. They have not known the value of transformation. They have not come into rubbing with the irritant. They pushed out the grain that was perceived too quickly as danger. They are the ones that saw their strength in escapism. They have not embraced and encircled the irritants. Their soft tissues continues to be soft but they ache in their barrenness. They forfeited their treasure for perceived protection.
But in true surrender, God produces layer after layer after layer of thick solid faith in the dark places, in the unworthy places of our life to create some gems for Him. What is causing irritation in your life today? Will you choose to make it a pearl?