Following up on my last blog article and remembering today as the 70th anniversary of “a date which will live in infamy,” I am writing to address this issue of sacrifice and suffering a bit deeper. It was 70 years ago today when America was surprisingly attacked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 2,402 Americans were killed and much U.S. property was destroyed in this horrific attack that fully thrust the United States into World War II. That attack on Pearl Harbor came at a great price, yet it ended up mobilizing a pearl of industry and involvement in this Country that led to the victory of the Allied forces in World War II and the defeat of Hitler. From this tragedy and irritant came a pearl of great price! Beautiful pearls can come from irritating things, if we allow our Creator to use these events to mold and make us.
Studying pearl formation is a fascinating thing. In response to a foreign invader, oysters and shelled mollusks produce a crystallized calcium carbonate rounded substance that has been deemed to be of great value by people worldwide. What woman has not at some point had or wanted some pearl necklace or pearls in some jewelry (even if only imitation pearls)? Our Creator has given us so many things to enjoy and learn from to grow into what HE wants for us in this world! Pearls are examples of good that can come through irritants and challenges! Interestingly, natural pearls (as with natural snow vs. “man-made snow”) can still be distinguished from “man-made” or cultured and imitation pearls. 🙂
In the natural world, many oysters have to be harvested in order to find one that contains a pearl. Due to this rarity in the natural world, a naturally formed pearl has greater value and thus becomes a pearl of great price. So, what lessons can be learned from this and the formation of pearls? Many examples come to mind, but I want to use this pearl analogy and this day when we think on the sacrifices at Pearl Harbor to focus on how we respond to outside irritants and attacks.
Sometimes trouble and tragedy comes from the poor choices that we and others make. We make our own trouble when we act in ways that we know will potentially cause harm. When you smoke, you are making it harder for your body and lungs to function as created. It also becomes much more likely for you to develop cancer or some other disease and the smoke can irritate others around you. The more you drink alcohol, the greater you give over control of your decisions and this will lead to harm for yourself and others around you. How many people are killed in vehicle crashes and how much abuse and relationship problems are caused by alcohol (just research this to see!)? If you overeat, your body will likely store more fat, which leads to obesity and greater health risks. When your attitude is self-focused and haughty or otherwise improper toward others, you will hurt those around you and lose positive feedback and encouragement from healthy relationships. When you choose to worry and stress over the future or things in the present and even the past that you cannot control, you lower your body’s defenses and increase your vulnerability to sickness. Some pearls of good can come even from the bad choices and irritants in life, yet the rare and rounded pearls of great price come through your response to what The Creator allows to come into your life.
Jesus spoke a parable of the kingdom of God being like a man who was seeking for good pearls. This man found one special pearl of great price and then sold all he had to purchase the pearl (see Matthew 13:45-46). When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he or she finds the greatest pearl in HIM! As many are now beginning to celebrate Christmas and the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, we must remember that HE first came to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world. Jesus is certainly the most costly pearl of all! Do you have Him in your life? If you do, are you allowing the tests and irritating trials of life to form good in you? Are you encasing the irritating things in life in the sac of faith and letting The Creator grow a beautiful, rounded pearl? It is this, my friend, which will grow your life into a pearl of great price!