Listen to this prophesy from Isaiah:
“O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
Your gates of crystal,
And all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you”
What an amazing prophecy! The “colorful gems” mentioned in verse 11 are jewels. If you know much about jewels, you know that a diamond was once a piece of coal that has been worked on for years by the elements. God’s Word is telling us: “Your afflictions are meant to change you into something beautiful—something precious to Me!”
The “pinnacles [windows] of rubies [agates]” mentioned here are a type of quartz, made transparent by fire. The “windows” aspect has to do with eyes or vision. God is saying that trusting Him through your afflictions will give you clear vision and discernment. It will allow you to see into the unseen with crystal clarity.
Many scholars believe the phrase “gates of crystal” reads more accurately as “gates of pearl.” Pearls are formed from a grain of sand in the belly of an oyster. The grain is injected with fluid, then grated and irritated until it becomes a pearl.
Think of all the grating, irritating friction in your life. What is God doing? He is making a pearl! Every pearl is a memento of suffering, pain, friction.
I believe Isaiah is talking about the beauty of Jesus Christ in this passage. In other words, affliction, when allowed to accomplish its work, brings about a people who shine forth the beauty of Christ’s character. It makes us more and more like Jesus.