by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2020
Oct 22-Jan 6 reflections from upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Christmastime can magnify loss. It can focus harsh, unwanted light on how out of order life seems to have become. In this place hearts are vulnerable. Maybe even quivering. Yet, if you allow it, it is here Holy Spirit can work on your heart until it becomes as a shimmering pearl.
Pearls are precious. And rare. Coveted by many, they are lovely to gaze at, roll between your fingers, or string into a strand to decorate your neck. Yet these exquisite, iridescent gems of beauty are not born. They are not created in one fell swoop. They are formed.
Much like diamonds, their formation occurs over long periods of constant inescapable discomfort. Pearls become because of hard circumstances endured with seemingly no relief. Pearls come to be in lonely places of suffering and pain.
A grain of sand finds it way unwanted into a living oyster. Into the oyster’s most delicate parts. The oyster now invaded by something unpleasant which irritates and agitates and which it can neither control or eradicate begins over time to put layer upon layer of mother-of-pearl (nacre) over that which is unwelcome, hurtful and oh-so-bothering. Ever-present discomfort! The nacre does not get rid of the sand but transforms it into something priceless while the oyster learns to live with that for which it could not have wished.
Oysters over their lifetimes often produce more than one pearl out of more than one grain of sand. What work of beauty does God want to produce in you during this hard time? What exquisiteness does He long to bring out of your long-suffering, where He lovingly covers that which you cannot change with layer upon layer of His priceless nacre until out of it He has made a pearl of great price? It is only Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit who take your hurting heart and transforms it day-by-day and insight-by-insight into a precious pearl which gleams, glimmering and reflecting increasingly the beauty of who and how He really is. It is only He who can change you interiorly in awe-some ways for your comfort, purpose, joy and His praise for all to see.
Will you allow God to make pearls of your pain or let what is bothering or troubling you remain agonizingly untreated and unglorified? Let this Christmas be exactly what you need it to be right now. The grain of sand is not going away. Invite God to come and do the inner work so out of the unavoidable pain He surprises even you with the exotic pearl of unimagined beauty and usefulness He makes out of it.
Lord, create out of these hurts a pearl of great price which can be used to reveal You to the world. I submit to Your process and know You will be with me through every moment of difficulty.
45 Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls,
46 Who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal [Wisdom], nor can it be exchanged for jewels or vessels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; for the possession of Wisdom is even above rubies or pearls.
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