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Turning Suffering Into a Pearl

The oyster is an amazing being! For they hold within themselves a secret – the secret of how suffering can be useful – of how the pearl comes into being. First, sand gets caught between the shell and the membrane of the oyster, irritating it. The oyster responds to the irritant by giving it something. And little by little, this substance, called mother of pearl, that the oyster gives to the irritant, becomes the pearl.

From time to time, for each and every one of us, certain irritants also get caught in our shells. Like the sand for the oyster, certain things irritate us, mostly certain people get under our skin. Or if we are an organization, these irritants can come in the form of whole groups of people!  But perhaps surprisingly, when our world becomes irritating, the adversary sees his chance! For the adversaries tempt us to spit out those annoying people from our lives, or to blame them for our misery, or to defend our small selves against their ‘attacks’. And yet, if the irritant is spit out, blamed or ignored, the pearl never comes to be.

For our pearls are created by what we give and learn through being irritated. And our task in this world is to create pearls and thereby redeem suffering by making it useful.

May our community be inspired by the oyster to create new pearls in and through that which irritates us. And in this way, unite with HIM, HE who made and is making suffering useful, transforming our irritating world into the pearl of His kingdom.

3 replies
  1. Sharleen Leonard
    Sharleen Leonard says:

    Thanks Jonah. Fits in well with what I seem to be facing lately. Your words help me to surround the irritant with love, in order to create something valuable, beautiful, and better than I could imagine.

  2. Stefan Svedberg
    Stefan Svedberg says:

    Per aspera ad astra or Ad astra per aspera is a Latin phrase which means any of the following: “Through hardships to the stars”, “A rough road leads to the stars”. It has always been a fact and it still is!


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