Turning Pebbles Into Pearls
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."1
Into the shell of an oyster a tiny foreign body—such as a tiny parasite—finds its way into the soft oyster body. "The intruder, though microscopic, is a source of irritation and pain to the soft body of the oyster. Unable to rid itself of the unwelcome 'guest,' the oyster seeks to reduce the irritation by coating it with layers of soft, iridescent mother-of-pearl material from its own shell. Over time, the oyster transforms a painful irritation into a beautiful pearl of great value."
Most of us have "tiny parasites" or annoying "pebbles" that come into our life on a regular basis … many of which can be very frustrating and even painful.
But every one of these annoyances gives us a chance to grow and mature. Some will require great patience, others tough love. Some will require our turning the other cheek, some confrontation, and some kindness and understanding. For example, addicts need to be treated with tough love. Bullies require us to maintain healthy boundaries. Cheaters need to be confronted. Manipulators need to be managed. Control freaks need to be resisted, guilt throwers need to be challenged, and toxic people may need to be avoided, and so on.
With God's help, if we so choose, we can turn every one of these annoying pebbles into pearls or we can allow them to make us bitter. For it's not what happens to us that matters, but how we react to what happens. What we do about it is what matters—and that's a choice we make either consciously or unconsciously. And remember, "The bumps are what we climb on."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see an opportunity for growth in every annoying situation. Give me the courage to be strong when needed, have healthy boundaries where required, exercise tough love where it is essential, and show kindness, patience and understanding where these are needed. Help me to always ask, 'What would Jesus do?' And please give me the courage to do just that. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV).