Think of what a speck of sand can reveal. If the sand gets in the human eye, it causes irritation, then infection, and eventually loss of vision if not cared for. But put that same speck of sand in an oyster. It causes irritation, then secretion, and eventually the oyster works to form a pearl. The sand was an agent that revealed the inner properties of the eye and of the oyster. In a real sense, when we face an irritation in our lives, or marriages or families, or in ministry, you can let it develop into an infection or you can allow it to become a pearl.
James hints at this same process. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4).
Let me focus on one word; “Count”. This means to “govern or guide” the outcome of a situation. Often we have a very earthly view of trials and all we can see is inconvenience or discomfort. The proper remedy for sand in the eye is to wash it out with water or eye solution, therefore removing the cause of infection. Jesus offered the church in Laodicea “salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see” (Revelation 3:18). Fellowship with the Lord will immediately reduce the irritation and recover spiritual eyesight.
The oyster chooses to produce a fluid that will create something very valuable. We also have a choice when faced with trials in relationships and in ministry. Will we work to produce a priceless reflection of Christ? It will take time, but if we are consistent in the application of grace, a pearl will emerge.
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