I ran across a story my dad, Chuck Swindoll, shared years ago. The message is timeless because we all encounter trials and tests; they interrupt our day and often initiate changes we don’t want to make. Perhaps you will want to place this in your home or office as I have done; the perspective it provides is powerful.
by Charles R. Swindoll[ref]Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, “Adjustments,” in The Finishing Touch: Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 315.[/ref]
The oyster and its pearl.
Pearls are the products of irritation. This irritation occurs when the shell of the oyster is invaded by an alien substance—like a grain of sand. When that happens, all the resources within the tiny, sensitive oyster rush to the irritated spot and begin to release healing fluids that otherwise would have remained dormant. By and by the irritant is covered—by a pearl. Had there been no irritating interruption, there could have been no pearl.
No wonder our heavenly home has pearly gates to welcome the wounded and bruised who have responded correctly to the sting of irritations.
J. B. Phillips must have realized this as he paraphrased James 1:2–4:
When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance . . . let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men [and women] of mature character.[ref]J.B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1958, 1960, 1972), 477.[/ref]