Pearly Problems
by Doug Pierce
Published on September 22, 2022


By Doug Pierce


“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2-3


Did you know that oysters can have problems? Those little creatures, living in those hard shells, can often get foreign substances inside their shells that cause irritation and distress. So what do they do with this problem? They secrete a chemical to ease that irritation…the result? Valuable, costly, pearls. Amazing, right?


Now no one likes to have problems and troubles . . . but we all have them. They are part of life. The Old Testament character, Job, had more than his fair share of difficulties in life. He said, “Man is born for trouble as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Can I get an “amen” somebody?!

Just like with the oyster, God wants to take the troubles we have and use them for good. He wants to turn our problems into pearls. He wants us to look at problems differently . . . so that we can see the benefits and truly “count it all joy.”


  1. Problems create an environment for us to experience God’s grace.

The Bible clearly teaches us that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). There’s nothing humbles us like problems.  When trouble comes, it always brings humility with it… and humility puts us in a place for God to pour out His grace. Think of a person in your life today that you admire…that you think of as someone with great faith in the Lord. If you were to sit down and ask them what helped them most in their walk with the Lord over time, you would hear them tell you of the many, many hardships the Lord brought them through and how they experienced His amazing grace in ways they otherwise would not have experienced!

  1. Problems create and environment for your faith to be strengthened.

Faith is the key that unlocks the storehouse of heaven. Faith is what pleases God. The stronger your faith, the more you will see God do in your life. Jesus said, “Be it done to you according to your faith” (Matt. 9:29). Warren Wiersbe says, “A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.” And faith really only grows when it is tested by trouble. See, faith is like muscle . . . if there is no resistance on it, it stays flabby and weak. It takes stress and strain to make it strong.

James tells us that we need to consider our problems as all joy (pure and unmixed with grief and grumbling). Surely all problems are not all joy – cancer is not a joy, job loss is not a joy, rejection is not a joy, opposition is not a joy, hardship is not a joy – but we are to COUNT problems a joy. We are to say by faith,‘God, I know you love me and have allowed this situation to come into my life . . . and I know You are going to use it for good somehow (Rom. 8:28)… and I choose to trust You and look at this with anticipation and excitement.’ That is faith. That attitude pleases God. 

  1. Problems are opportunities for you to draw near to God.

Anything that brings you closer to the Lord is a good thing! Problems remind us how desperately we need Him. We seek God more earnestly when we are in trouble . . . and He has promised that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts (Jer. 29:13). Surely, He is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18). When it comes to problems, you and I always have a choice to make: “Will I allow this problem to make me bitter… or make me better? Will I focus on the pearls or the problem?”


I read about a pastor in Florida who occasionally throws “Count it all joy” parties. He prepares a nice invitation, sends it out to lots of people, and then waits for the response. “Why are you having this party? Is it your birthday? Your anniversary? Did you get a raise?” they ask him. “No, I’m having this party because I’m going through a hard time right now and I want to celebrate because I know God has something good planned for me in the end.”

The thought occurred to me that this is a far better idea than the “Pity Parties” many of us like to throw. Perhaps a group of people going through hard times should come together to throw a “Count it all joy” party so they can celebrate together. That‘s really the attitude of our verse for today! God’s word says, “Count it all joy” . . . and let Him take that problem and turn it around for good. If you will choose joy at the start, you will see God bring abundant joy to the conclusion. There are pearls in your problems. Stay focused on them and you will be amazed at what God will do in response.

Think it over –

Doug Pierce is a Church planter and a pastor. In 2003 he started, and continues to pastor First Independent Methodist Church in Madison, Mississippi. His #1 priority is to glorify God in all aspects of ministry. He does this through teaching his congregation to Love God, Love One Another, and Love Others to God. Prayer, outreach, and church growth through evangelism are vital parts of his ministry. He and his wife Suzanne live in Madison, Mississippi where they also enjoy their children and grandchildren.

To find out more about Doug‘s ministry visit the FIMC Website

Feature photo by Wallpaper Access


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