Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)
TITLE: The Nacre Effect
By Randy Foncree
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The birth of a pearl is an amazing event to say the least. Most gemstones are mined from the earth. The pearl is formed inside an oyster at the bottom of the sea. The process begins with a grain of sand, a parasite, or some other foreign object that gets lodged in the oyster’s inner body, where it is impossible for the oyster to get rid of it. It grows there, irritating the daylights out of the oyster. To ease the discomfort, the oyster secretes a substance called “nacre”. As the nacre is secreted, it hardens around the foreign object, and eventually forms what is called the pearl. As long as the object is an irritant to the oyster, it will continue to secrete the nacre. The formation of the pearl is one of nature’s greatest mysteries. Unlike other precious gemstones that have to be cut, the pearl from oyster to jewelry store looks the same. The soft inner glow that the pearl possesses is what sets it apart from other gemstones.
What do Christians do with the irritants of life that they can’t get rid of? These irritants can be what the Apostle Paul refers to as a thorn in the flesh. Paul had a horrible time with being persecuted every time he turned around. He couldn’t go into a city without someone coming against him. Some say that Paul had an illness that debilitated him. He also referred to his thorn in the flesh as being a messenger from Satan to buffet him. Regardless of what Paul’s thorn was, it was enough to cause tremendous difficulty for the great Apostle. He demonstrated his frustration about the thorn when he asked God three times to remove it. God’s response to Paul was, “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” God wanted to create a pearl out of Paul’s irritants. That was so God could receive the glory in his ultimate victory over it. We all have thorns in the flesh to deal with.
My thorn in the flesh at times has come in the way of family members, or non-believers coming against me for my stand in Christ. I’ve had family members that lived with me, and put up a fuss at some of the household rules. When I voiced my opposition at an infraction to those rules, it drew a negative response. How I learned to deal with it, is to not respond to their negative opinion while standing my ground. That’s not an easy balance to achieve. Always remember as Proverbs admonishes, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” By not responding to the negativism, talking it over with my wife, and praying about the situation, it seemed to work itself out, or God gave me peace in the midst of it, to where their response just didn’t seem to matter that much. God helping me deal with the irritants of life I’ve come to refer to as, His “nacre” of peace.
What happens at the end of the process is a beautiful pearl is birthed in our life. We become more mature in Christ, and the things that use to get to us, or bother us, don’t anymore. We become fit for use in God’s kingdom. There is an inner glow that emanates from our being. We become what scripture refers to as, “A vessel of honor”. We take on an iridescent beauty that we didn’t possess before. Then after it’s all over with, God is glorified, and He is able to truthfully say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” He can now entrust us with greater responsibility in our service to Him.
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