Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Pearls are the Product of Pain

Over the last couple of weeks while my colleague has been on leave I have been feeling lonely and at times overwhelmed by all that should be done. Sadly, I have had to accept the fact that one person cannot do the same amount of work as two! Yes, I know that should be obvious but I am a slow learner! So, I have been forced to re-prioritise and choose to allow some things to fall through the cracks. Been there? Out of that confusion and frustration I found myself telling a story that I usually tell for others (like trainees and recruits) but this time it was for me…

Do you know how pearls are formed? They are the result of pain! An irritant, a grain of sand or other alien particle finds it way into the mussel or oyster’s outer shell. Professional producers like Paspaley Pearls in Darwin harvest wild Pinctada Maxima oysters and then surgically insert the seeding material which comes from a freshwater Mississippi clam shell. This material has a particularly unpleasant taste for the mussel! The organism responds by releasing a range of healing fluids which coats the foreign irritant, smoothing out its surface and after a couple of years producing a beautiful pearl. In one sense the pearl is a healed wound, a beautiful result of a very unpleasant experience.

Life is like that… we too can take and use the irritating things that happen to us, the unpleasant things that leave a bad taste in our mouths to grow in us the character and values we need. Without that pain there would be no growth and no priceless jewel at the end. So don’t just put up with the pain, do something with it! Walter will not be back for a couple more weeks, but I will continue to do the best I can with what I have got, and hopefully grow some more pearls of wisdom as a result. Part of that is a recognition that God is in charge of my day, and I can leave both what I did AND what I didn’t do in His hands and expect a beautiful result… in His time not mine.

Chaplain Ian S Whitley