Life can be so irritating! Misplaced keys and long lines at the cashier. Slow moving traffic and solicitors calling at dinnertime. The list can go on and on much like the pink bunny advertising a certain brand of battery. Do you find the little things are the most annoying, rubbing you the wrong way? In addition, what is the purpose of this provocation? This question takes us to the pearl, a subject that keeps popping up in my readings of late. A pearl forms when an irritant, such as a piece of sand, embeds itself into an oyster, mussel, or clam, much like a splinter works its way into our skin. As a defense mechanism, the mollusk releases healing fluids to encapsulate the irritant in multiple layers until the therapeutic balm transforms the annoyance into an object of beauty, a valuable treasure, a pearl. Hmmm… something valuable blossoms out of the most difficult situations (Romans 8:28). Aha, so that is the purpose of life’s harsh conditions; to transform us and to develop our character making us more like Christ (James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7). Wait a minute… is this why Heaven’s gates are made of pearls (Revelation 21:21)?