Kind of drab, really. Earthy colors, no distinct shape, and no particular abilities. It's just a shell. It does have a purpose, though. Its job is to house and protect the vulnerable and tender inside.
Oyster shells are somewhat like people in this respect. They have a hard, nondescript outside, but a soft, delicate inside. Even the Son of God fit this description in human form.
"He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him." Isaiah 53:2
There is a soft parallel between the oyster and man. An oyster is made of two parts: the inner and the outer. The outer shell is the only part that is ever visibly seen...that is until the death of the organism inside. The tender, inner soft part of the body is likened to our spirit, kept hidden until the breaking of the body.
When a pearl oyster is opened, the organism inside dies, and most likely, a valuable gift is left behind.
It's important to note that not all oysters make pearls...only the true pearl oysters (genus Pinctada) make them. But how does this happen?
When a foreign object becomes embedded inside the oyster, the mantle inside secretes nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, to isolate the irritant.
Let me say that again: Something that doesn't belong there gets inside the outer shell. As a way to defend the innermost part of the mollusk, the mantle releases a protective material which, in effect, quarantines the invader inside the nacre. The end result of this process is known as a radiant pearl.
It's funny to me, to see myself in this oyster.
Sin invaded the human heart in the Garden of Eden. It's been there since the beginning. That irritant was present in my heart from the time I was born. From the time I became old enough to realize it was there, it was a constant irritant to me. I realized it was there, but I was powerless to do anything about it.
Then I was reborn. Remade, if you will, into a new creature. And my inmost part became the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. He was then able to apply the loveliest substance to isolate the irritant in my soul - His very own Holy Blood.
In that single transaction, I was instantly relieved of the unwanted pollution in my soul. Relieved, but not yet free of it. It is still very much there, but it is covered. One cannot adequately express the tremendous difference that is felt in that relief. But oh, how I long to be free of it...and one day lay it at the feet of my King.
Rev. 21:21 describes the Gates of the New Jerusalem (in the future) as each set with a giant pearl. I don't mean to say there is a giant pearl set inside each gate. Oh no. I mean each of the gates are giant and are made from one solid pearl!
"The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass." Rev. 21:21
The picture here is that entryway into the City of God...is through these trials, this covering of sin.
That pearl that is safely kept in my innermost being is ultimately a benefit to me that came from something painful. It is beauty from ashes. And one day, one glorious day, when this body is mortally broken, there will be a rare gift left behind. One with an indescribably soft inner glow that shines brightest in the Light of the Son.
Lord, I need help remembering that nothing in my life is wasted.
Not. One. Thing.
You are Lord of all. May it serve to glorify You and make me holy, like You.