March 26, 2013

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows it’s true colors. So don’t get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.” – James 2:2-4 (The Message)

I don’t know about you but there are several things that irritate me. Things such as misplaced keys, stuck zippers, poor service, cold food, flight delays, rattles in a car, incompetence, weeds, higher and higher gas prices and there is more. Any of those irritate you? Sounds like today LOL. You know if it weren’t for irritations we’d be very patient, wouldn’t we? Unfortunately irritations comprise a major occupational hazard for every one. So how do you respond to irritations? Lose your cool or adjust and make the best of it? For some of us “adjusting” is no big deal and for others of us …well, we tend to lose our cool.

Regardless, most everyone tends to develop reactionary habits, couple that with always being pulled in every which direction as well as unrealistic expectations, something is bound to give when and irritation or two come our way. Anytime you increase the heat in an already highly pressurized system by adding a few irritations you will have a reaction that is akin to …BOOM! At that point the lid is blown off and out comes the steam!!!

Or you can look at irritations in a totally different and productive way. Pearls are a product of pain! A pearls’ life begins as a foreign object, such as a grain of sand that becomes lodged in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. So to ease the irritant, the oyster’s body takes a defensive action as it releases a smooth, but hard crystalline substance (called nacre) around the irritant in order to protect itself. And as long as the irritant remains within it’s body, the oyster will continue to provide the necessary secretion, layer upon layer to protect itself from the irritant. Eventually the irritant will be completely encased by the silky crystalline coatings, resulting in a lustrous gem called a pearl.

The pearl is a reminder of irritants, a symbol of a healed wound if you will …it is born of adversity, and nursed by adjustments. If this never happens then we never have a natural pearl. Daily irritations are a part of life and if looked upon with the right perspective can help you become a person of mature character.

Author JB Philips paraphrases James 1:2-4 like this: “When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they have come to test your endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men (and women) of mature character.”

It’s a matter of choice …lose your cool or adjust your perspective!