Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Problems or Pearls . . .

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 06 May 2009

The little pearl oyster receiving accidentally into its shell a rough fragment of rock or sand tries in vain to expel the intruding and irritant substance and only suffers in the struggle until rasped and bleeding it gives up in agony and helplessness. Then a new force comes into play. From its peculiar physiological system the little mollusk sends forth a crystal fluid which covers and coats the rough piece of rock with a soft crystalline cushion and as this grows and hardens it becomes a beautiful pearl. It ceases to irritate and soothes and rests the wounded side of the little creature until the curse has become a blessing, and some days later the pearl fisher discovers the hidden treasure, opens the shell and takes forth a gem of purest luster and boundless value which is worn in the coronets of kings and adorns the highest rank and grandest occasions. So someday our sorrows, irritations and wrongs, having first been sweetened by the Holy Spirit into heavenly virtues, will become the jewels of an immortal crown and will shine in the diadem of Jesus and adorn our brow forever!

~ A. B. Simpson

A.B. Simpson’s words
are tender and poignant. The pearl oyster embodies so many human problems, sorrows, and emotional suffering. Like the oyster, we encounter “irritants,” but we have a tendency to try and avoid them. We’re human – it’s inborn.

Christian counselors will tell you that the basis of almost all mental illness is the tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them. It was renowned physician Carl Jung who said, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. “

The tragedy, of course, is that the substitute for our suffering ultimately becomes more painful that the original suffering we are trying to avoid! Does this explain why the wisest saints among us are often the people who endure pain rather than escape it? These saints are men and woman who are “acquainted with grief.” I believe this describes Job. How about our Savior Jesus Christ?

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief."

~ Isaiah 53:3

“…yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”
~ Hebrews 5:8

Are you trying to avoid
problems and the suffering that comes with them? Maybe you have several dozen problems today. If you listen to the voices around you, you’ll search for a substitute – an escape route. You’ll miss the fact that your problems are God-appointed – fashioned to stretch you and challenge you and deepen your walk with Him. Growth and wisdom come with each irritating-piece-of-sand-kind-of-a-problem. And what emerges is an exquisite gem of purest luster and boundless value!

- Esthermay V. Bentley-Goossen
© 2009 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife


Joan said...

Wow! I'd seen this poem about the oyster before a long time ago and wished I'd photocopyied it. This is beautiful. Don't you think it takes a real heart of surrender and joy to overlook what the world sees as a trial and see it for what it truly is? LIFE. A lot of Christians are caught up in the ways of the world when it comes to the human condition. We just want to fix it now and avoid it. That's so contrary to God's Word.
Your posts are always right where my heart needs to be.
I want to shine in the diadem of Jesus! Forever!

Barbara said...


Denise said...

Such an awesome post sweetie.

sara said...

"So someday our sorrows, irritations and wrongs, having first been sweetened by the Holy Spirit into heavenly virtues, will become the jewels of an immortal crown and will shine in the diadem of Jesus and adorn our brow forever!" This is so good!!!



A.B. Simpson wrote: "and some days later the pearl fisher discovers the hidden treasure".

Yes, I have been going through a LOT of suffering lately - mostly physical and some that is not my own doing. But in all of it God has been showing me all of what you have written here. He keeps telling me to dig deep for the hidden treasure - UNTIL - I find it!

He is my treasure each day - but I know He holds more every day if I will only seek His heart - to find it!

Beautiful post and visuals! Loved it!
PS: I love that word "diadem" because my name [Stephanie] means "crown". I love the visuals on that too!

Choosing JOY,
[JESUS - the One I Worship]

Amy Guerino said...

I love God's nature allegories to real life for us, his image bearers. Your post reminds me...

My dear Judy-Mom, who has terminal cancer recently gave me this quote as I was struggling with my chronic pain issues:

"Not only this valley but all this earthly past will be Heaven to those who are saved...This is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into glory." ~ C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Vikki Wright said...

Hi sweet friend! Thanks for the encouraging post...I love the image of the little oyster battling and struggling and feeling pain, only to emerge triumphant when his trial becomes a treasure. May all of our trials be viewed through the eyes of Christ, and may we be reminded of Paul's words to count it all joy, knowing the sorrow only lasts for the night, but joy is always coming. Bless you!

Susan said...


I can't believe I missed this post! Hmmmm...

Well, it was awesome.

Yes, most of do not want to acquaint ourselves with grief. And at the very same time we want to "be like Jesus".

I can't ever remember any great lessons I've learned on the mountaintops, as much as I've enjoyed those times.

But oh in the valleys I've felt the presence of God and the fellowship was so sweet.

Thanking God for all the seasons and times in my life and all those irritations that caused me to look a little more like Him!!

Love you♥

Denise Hughes said...

I appreciate the image you shared of a the parental joy that is expressed with a small child's first steps. I remember cheering and clapping with each of my toddlers' stumbles and fall. My applause wasn't about the falling; it was about encouraging my little ones to try again. A loving parent says, "I love you no matter how many times you fall. And I am always here to help you up again." Our heavenly Father is the same. It is just as you say: If only we would keep our eyes on Him.

Denise Hughes

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