Last week I mowed the yard in what felt like a 350-degree oven. At one point, completely drenched in sweat, I had to sit down in the shade of a tree to catch my breath and cool down a bit. I was feeling sorry for myself, and talking to God about it, when something moving along the ground caught my eye. As I watched, I realized that it was a butterfly. It’s wings, however, were dragging the ground and appeared to be moist and not fully formed. This little guy was crawling with absolute resolution toward a tree. It was a difficult journey over sticks and rocks and hot dry ground, but it managed to climb into that tree to a height of about 2’ off the ground… and it stopped right there. It was just high enough for a slight breeze to blow against its wings. And I sat, utterly amazed, as I witnessed a miracle. Its wings were droopy but began to unfold and straighten out. As the moisture dried, the wings began to take form and more vibrant color. It sat right there in that spot, opening and closing its wings, until they were fully formed as God had always meant them to be.
I had witnessed a part of transformation (metamorphosis) where a caterpillar sheds its cocoon and becomes a butterfly. I did not see the cocoon, nor did I see the caterpillar. But those past experiences were very real for that little fellow, and I had witnessed the difficult portion of its journey after escaping the cocoon, where it trudged across difficult terrain in blistering heat to find a place where its wings can dry off, expanding over and over again, growing in strength and stability, until finally it becomes able to lift off and fly into the sky to live life to its fullest as it was created to do! What an incredible sight to see!
God had given me a gift at a moment when I felt much like a soggy caterpillar wriggling along a broken and battered world, desperately trying to find a place where I can feel the wind of God blowing strength into my feeble body. And, what’s most astounding to me is that a seemingly insignificant little butterfly is actually a type (or metaphor) of US. Paul writes: Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) The word “transformed” in that text is actually the Greek word “metamorphoses”. As Paul was writing encouragement to the battered church in Rome, he had his mind on a caterpillar who would, through its own suffering, one day be given the glorified body of a butterfly. God wants us to know that we are not meant for the cocoon, or even for the dry and parched ground of a sin-cursed world. We were created to soar with God! And we are, even now, through all kinds of difficulties and suffering, having our beleaguered bodies transformed into glorious bodies that will one day surpass all the butterflies in this world. And when that day comes, we will know what true LIFE is!
That, my friends, is who we are!! May you never stop believing that truth. And may we never stop believing that God is not finished with us. Thank you, Lord, for finishing what you start!!