Malachi 3:17 shows us that God regards us as jewels, “And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” In order to make us His jewels, God has to use the same principle He uses to make precious gems like rubies, sapphires and diamonds. They are all rare, there is not an abundance of them, and there is not an abundance of Christians who have the qualities of jewels. To be transformed into the beauty of the end product, a raw material has to be subjected to a time of extreme temperatures and pressure. Even a pearl is formed from an irritation which enters an oyster. In defense, the oyster coats the offender with a substance called nacre, which eventually after a long period of time produces a pearl. God works in our lives the same way to produce something as precious to Him. You are His raw material, and He saw the potential for something really beautiful. But it would take some pressure and extreme temperature and sometimes some substantial irritation to make you into something of value to Him.
So maybe you don’t feel like you are so beautiful, especially on the outside. In many cases, disease has taken its toll on our appearance, which is sometimes one of the hardest things to deal with when you have a disease that does just that. Arthritis can cripple and deform joints, medicine can make you lose your hair or make you gain unwanted weight, you could certainly be unnaturally pale or even yellow, or your movements can be hesitant and not fluid. But inside this diseased or crippled body is the beautiful soul that is being shaped into what God had in mind.
In addition, God will put us through some spiritual resistance exercises to make us stronger. If you own any type of exercise machine, it most likely came with a manual. In that manual, it tells you how to get stronger. You might read it and think, “Wow, this is great. I can really benefit from this. I am so encouraged by what I can accomplish.” Then you set the manual down and walk away. No matter how many times you pick up that manual and read it, you will not get any stronger by just reading the manual. You have to experience the discomfort that goes with the exercises in order to gain strength. No pain, no gain, as they say. The same goes for Christianity. Just reading the manual, the Bible, will help you understand more about being a better Christian, but you won’t actually gain that strength until your faith is exercised, which requires a little pain and discomfort as well.
Are you the same person you were on the inside when you were healthy? Stop to take a good look at any qualities you may have gained through your illness or pain. Do you spend more time talking with God in prayer? Are you more compassionate about others? Are you less consumed by your life on this earth? God is shaping you into the beautiful bride of Christ.