This morning I was reading the daily devotion that comes to my email by Pastor John Piper. Today he said something that I knew, but which struck me on a deeper level today.
" I have heard strong saints say, “Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with him has come through suffering.” And the statement he followed with was "Jesus Christ is the pearl of great price" Matthew 13:45
You may recall the parable where a man finds a "pearl of great price" and he goes and sells all that he has so that he may purchase that pearl. What struck me today is the nature of pearls. The pearl starts with a piece of sand, which irritates the oyster. And the oyster, over time secretes a coating which in the end becomes the pearl.
The pearl was born by the pain of the oyster. And it is only through suffering that anything of value can be obtained....anything of true value, that is. Yes, Jesus is the Pearl....and just look at what he suffered so that we might obtain the riches in eternity that he offers. And not only did Jesus, the Pearl, suffer....the man who wanted to obtain that valuable pearl lost everything in his desire to own that treasure.
People in other parts of the world who have the treasure of Christ, are losing everything...home, finances, health and are often losing also their lives because they are unwilling to give u p their faith in the Lord Jesus. They languish in prison, being beaten and tortured....but their grip on that Pearl does not relent.
How valuable do you consider the Pearl of Great Price to be? Would you lose everything rather than give it up?
And those of us who suffer in other ways...Chronic pain, mental illness, cancer, grief and bereavement....do you have your sights set on the pearl? Is the pearl your goal or is merely getting through the day? It would be very sad to suffer pain and loss and to receive nothing in return, wouldn't it?
And I just found this verse:
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. Rev. 21:21..
HOW do we enter the kingdom? Via the gate opened by suffering. His suffering and our suffering by which we had communion with the Savior.
Find your treasure -- in the body of the risen Lord and allow him to work a beautiful thing in you by the suffering you face. Do not waste it. One day his suffering will open up the Gates of Heaven to you if you allow the Risen King to put your suffering to good use.