“… the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)
The most precious keepsake in my jewelry drawer is a string of my mother’s pearls. They were a gift to her from my father in the second decade of their marriage.
Imagining her wide-eyed, opening a fancy box and finding a string of real pearls inside, always makes me smile. For one thing, it was the only piece of jewelry she owned, besides a humble wedding ring, that wasn’t costume jewelry. For a second thing, my parents had a rocky marriage, and I cherish hints of happy seasons.
The clasp on the necklace is old and weak, so I’m too afraid to wear the pearls. Still, I hold them often, rolling them with my fingertips, and think of my mom. And her mom. And my daughters. And my daughter’s daughters. All of us women who’ve longed to find beautiful lives even after fairy tales proved fraudulent.
The pearls are yellowed now, perhaps from age, but I smile as I wonder if a blend of cigarette smoke, cologne and Clairol hair color might have contributed. Life has a way of rubbing off on our pearls, doesn’t it?
I’ve spent the last year or so looking back over my life. A common inclination of those who reach that famous age benchmark of 65 suggests — wrongly, I believe — that it’s all downhill from here. But I savor life and relationships more than ever and find myself more secure and at deeper peace.
The words of Scripture are so dear to me after all the years of looking to God through them that I often can’t read my Bible without tears welling up. My soul still teems with life and purpose, but let’s admit I’m at a fine age for praying Psalm 90:12: “… teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” (NKJV).
As I looked back over the past year, I drew a timeline from my birthdate to the present. I placed bold dots where the most life-shaping events or seasons of my journey took place — whether positive or negative — and labeled them. Until now, I’d been reluctant to take a sequential look back because, in my thinking, it had all been such a jumbled mess. Too much pain and failure. Too much sin and defeat. Too many tears and regrets.
But an uncanny thing became clear to me: how often something wonderfully providential came next to something wildly painful. So many hard things have happened, but goodness and mercy have indeed followed me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6)
That timeline became a string to me, and those dots became pearls. I realized that each element — bad or good — had caused the “one pearl of great price,” as God’s Kingdom is called in Matthew 13:46, to increase in value to me.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)
Have you, like me, needed Jesus so badly?
Looking back, was He there for you, even if you see Him only in hindsight?
Did those life-shaping things ultimately increase, in your eyes, the surpassing value of the one thing no one can take from you?
Then, lo and behold, you did find a beautiful life, one that will only increase in worth with time and trust. Faith is the clasp on your string of pearls. Faith in Christ and His power to redeem your life will keep those pearls from getting lost.
Lord, grant me eyes to see that my life is not the sum of a thousand random fragments. Long before I knew You, You knew me. Help me to recognize the pearls that have only made You more valuable to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Check out Beth Moore’s new memoir called All My Knotted-Up Life. In this beautifully crafted portrait of resilience, survival and God’s enduring faithfulness, this bestselling author and popular conference speaker offers a thoughtful, disarmingly funny and intensely vulnerable glimpse into her life and ministry.
Beth’s Living Proof Ministries website is a great place to find encouragement in your walk with God through the pages of Scripture.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Philippians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel …” (CSB)
What experience can you look back on now and see how God used it to make the gospel more real and precious to you? We would love to know your story in the comments.
© 2023 by Beth Moore. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.
Click here to view our policy on third-party links.
What We Believe
If your life feels too overwhelming, click here for our care and counseling resources.