A second marriage brings with it a number of regrets. If onlys tend to crop up. If only, we think, we knew then what we know now. If only we weren’t dragging along an ex-husband or ex-wife and the damages from that marriage into the new one. I was thinking along those dispirited lines one morning several months into my marriage to my wonderful husband as I read the parable in Matthew about the pearl of great price. Sometimes too many sermons on a subject will close our minds to the possibilities in the Word, and so I reread the familiar parable, imagining as the pearl, the gospel of Christ. We learn about this treasure, and we give up everything in order to purchase it. Ok. Got it.
But then the Lord interrupted my train of thought and said You are my pearl of great price. Now I knew that couldn’t be true. I’ve been through a lot and can bring up any number of grave shortcomings at a moment’s notice. No, I thought, that’s not what He meant. But the thought kept persisting and I kept working at the metaphor in the parable. So if I am the pearl and you, friend, are the pearl, exactly how does that work?
Christ gave up his life, everything He had and was, in order to purchase us.
So the metaphor works, but still I had a really hard time emotionally connecting with this message. Fortunately, God wasn’t through communicating it. Later on that morning, He reminded me again that I was the pearl. I agreed. I thought to myself OK, God, I get it. I am the pearl of great price. Lesson learned. Metaphor checks out. Great.
Having assented intellectually with this revelation, I continued my day in the same listless fashion with which I began it. Then I heard God say to me, I can prove it to you. Well, that got my attention. He brought to mind my wedding day. The day before my wedding, I had gone to TJMaxx and bought a string of pearls that were on sale for ten dollars. I assumed they were fake. But they were pretty and matched the gown I wore perfectly. So when God brought those to mind, I agreed and said yes, those are pretty pearls. They are fake, but they are pretty. God is patient, thank goodness, because despite my education, I am quite slow sometimes when it comes to figuring out what in heaven’s name is the point God is making.
The pearls are real. I heard this again and laughed out loud. One does not buy real pearls for ten dollars. But the nudging continued. Now I have heard that real pearls, when scraped across the teeth, are grainy. Plastic pearls are smooth. The pearls are real. Hearing it again, I huffed a little. Surely my brain was playing tricks on me. But I went upstairs anyway to my jewelry box. I pulled out the strand and ran it across my teeth, in the name of obedience or defiance, I’m not quite sure.
The pearls were grainy. They were heavy. They were real. All this time, they had been real. And I knew with heart knowledge that God had gifted me with these even before I was aware of their value. The value He places on me as a bride and as His bride, is higher than the value I placed on myself. I was the pearl of great price. He gave His life for me. I was so moved, both by his seeing me as having great worth and by His gift of real pearls for my wedding.
In that moment, He made all things new; my vision of myself and my vision of my wedding were elevated above the realms of regret and shame.
You are the pearl of great price. Does your heart understand the great worth He places on you? Ask Him to show you, and hopefully, you will not require the convincing I needed. But He will give you the assurance you need because it is for you that He surrendered everything.
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new! Revelation 21:5
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46