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Today’s Truth

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the LORD, your God (Isaiah 45:3 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Life can be so irritating. It’s usually the little things that annoy me the most. The lost set of keys or misplaced cell phone. The ice-maker that quits working before a party … the little things.

But there are times when people are the problem, showing up unexpectedly or calling when I’m running late. Been there?

I’m convinced God uses these tiny irritations as “heavenly sandpaper” to rub off our rough edges.

I was invited to speak for a women’s conference based on the theme, “Pearls of Wisdom.” When I arrived, every woman was wearing pearl necklaces, bracelets, or pins. Treasure chests overflowing with pearls decorated each table.

Everyone was excited and ready to go – except for one problem. I didn’t have any pearls. But this creative group of ladies was not easily deterred. Before I knew it, I was wearing a stunning pearl necklace – and the pearls were the real deal. Before I could utter one word of protest, the owner of the necklace said, “Don’t worry! Just give it back to me at the end of the conference.”

It was a blistering summer day, and the air conditioning was having trouble keeping up with the size of the crowd. By the time I finished speaking, I was “glowing.”

I forgot all about the pearl necklace until its owner quietly slipped up beside me and said, “I have to leave and need to grab my necklace.” I apologized for perspiring all over her beautiful pearls. She laughed, “Actually, it’s good for them. Human perspiration helps the pearls keep their luster.”

I am constantly amazed by the profound truths God has tucked into simple things. Isaiah 45:3 is one of those simple truths that has changed my life and my perspective of trials.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the LORD, your God” (Isaiah 45:3 NIV).

This verse indicates that God has gone before us and, in every dark moment or painful circumstance, has buried a treasure or stored a secret. The only way we can find the treasure or learn the secret is to pass through that darkness. Some things cannot be learned in the light.

Pearls are formed when a piece of grit, sand or shell is trapped inside an oyster. The oyster protects itself from irritation by secreting a nacreous liquid that surrounds the irritant until it eventually becomes a pearl. In other words, that once annoying irritant eventually becomes a valuable treasure.

Don’t miss this truth!

The greatest treasures in my life are products of the darkest times of my life – even when those dark times are a result of my wrong choices.

God takes even our mistakes, bringing good out of them. Paul said it well in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (HCSB). If we let Him, God will use the results of our mistakes as the foundation for a new life. I am living proof of that truth.

A battle with clinical depression stripped away years of fear and doubt, leaving me with a new identity in Christ.

The inability to have biological children made it possible to adopt our son and daughter, giving my husband and me a priceless treasure.

Over the years, weaknesses have given way to strengths and failures have led to successes.

God has used it all for His glory and my good.

In God’s economy, a mess is the perfect setting for a miracle. A sliver of hope and a seed of victory are buried at the center of every problem. God has gone before you. He has already been where He is asking you to go and made a way.

God has buried a treasure in every problem. To find the treasure, we must go through the trial. So, when the tough times come, just look for the pearls.

Let’s Pray

Father, I am so sorry for the way I complain about my circumstances. I want to see Your hand in every part of every day – good or bad. Help me learn how to face storms with confidence, knowing You really are in control.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What should our first response be to trials?
What does the testing of our faith produce in us? (James 1:3)

More from the Girlfriends

Need help facing your day? Check out Mary’s new devotion books, Life is So Daily (Volumes 1 and 2). It is our prayer that they will encourage and equip you to face each day with God’s power.

Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email at mary@marysoutherland.com.

© 2021 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

8 Responses to “Messes and Miracles”

  1. Carol says:

    Amen, Mary!
    Thank you, so much for this writing. Yes, pearls are the beautiful result of God’s plan of irritation not only for the oyster, but for disciples like us!
    My plan? Worry first, and pray later?! So, now the plan is to “look for the pearls”!
    Continued blessings in your writing ministry.

  2. Terry says:

    It always amazes me when a lesson comes just at the time I need it. Family irritants and trials are the season I am in and hopefully coming out of and this message brought it home for me. Thank you for being used by God.

  3. Edith says:

    Oh Mary, another “jewel” of a message! How good and great our God is! God has taken my messes and made them my message! Thank you Mary for sharing your stories with us as they always start my day with many reflections in my own life! You are a precious “jewel” along with all the other GiGs! God bless you all!

  4. Dawn says:

    Thank you for your message Mary. These past years have been a struggle for me and I am not talking just Covid. God has me on this journey and I have embrace it then not. I go back and forth, thinking I am not worthy and then go in the pit of depression questioning everything. I feel I am going forward in steps and then bam more steps backwards. Those irritates are more frequent than before. Thank you for your pearls of wisdom.

  5. Carol, thank you for your kind words of encouragement! I so appreciate each one. God bless you as you look for those pearls.

  6. God is always right on time! It is these kind of experiences that seem to solidify my faith and realize just how close the father is… Even more than the big experiences. I’m so glad He brought this devotion into your life just when you needed it most. God bless you!

  7. Edith, You are so kind! I appreciate your sweet words of encouragement. Thank you for your support and continued prayers. Blessings!

  8. Dawn, I am so sorry this has been such a difficult time for you. Please know that you are not alone. I pray that the fathers presence will encourage and comfort and strengthen you for each step that you take, and each circumstance you face.Hang in there, my friend! God is with you!

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