Have you ever wondered how pearls are formed? They are created through an outside irritant that somehow gets inside of the oyster, like a parasite or a grain of sand. As a defense mechanism, the oyster begins coating the intruder with a layer of protection known as “nacre”. Through this process, a pearl is born. Real pearls are rough in texture and found in the deepest of waters. It’s pretty amazing that because of irritation and conflict, a beautiful pearl is born.
It is no coincidence that the Bible pairs a pearl with praise. In Revelation 21:21, we read specifically about a gate made of pearl named “Praise”. Psalm 100:4, says “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name”. I don’t know about you, but for months we have been in an uphill battle, which has felt like an eternity. Without giving the enemy any glory or sharing personal details, I’ll simply say our faith has been tested on multiple levels and through several situations. And one of the many lessons the Lord has been teaching me, is a true sacrifice of praise.
When we go through a difficult season or find ourselves in the middle of a storm, our attitude and focus determines much of the outcome. Not necessarily the outcome of the situation, but the condition of our heart is on the line. When we praise through our struggle, it is a sacrifice. Because it is not what we feel like doing. And at that moment, a gate is formed; a place of entrance where the King of Glory can invade our situation and take over our emotions. A gate is formed when we move above human explanation and beyond our feelings. When we surrender and move into a place of trust, God can then move on our behalf. Nothing gets His attention like praise in spite of pain. It not only produces something pleasing to the Father, but it produces something beautiful in us as well.
I think this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said he knew how to be content with nothing or everything (Philippians 4:11-13). The secret of life isn’t being problem free, but it’s choosing to run to the Problem Solver. We always have a reason to praise the Lord because He is always good. And just because I’ve had a bad day (or couple of months) doesn’t change that. So, today, I encourage each of us to choose thanksgiving instead of despair. To step into the peace of God by putting on the garment of praise. Each one of us can create a gate in our lives through worship. And my prayer is that life’s irritations will cause me to dig a little deeper. That something beautiful will born that God can use for His glory.