He makes all things new...but sometimes it is though a life-stopping, gut-melting, death-to-self kind of way.
My granddaughter discovered a monarch caterpillar at the nursery. We brought her home, put her in a potted milkweed, and expected to see her chew leaves for awhile. However, the next morning, she was hanging upside down on a leaf and had transformed into a bright green chrysalis by sunset. In one day, her former life was gone, and she started her confined season of transformation.
Ever have your life flip upside down and change overnight?
Did you know when a butterfly-to-be is in the chrysalis stage, her guts completely liquify? She actually digests herself. Every cell in her body changes while she’s squeezed into her transformation tube. That has to be really weird. And uncomfortable. And dark. And scary.
Sometimes life as we have known it suddenly ends, and we end up hanging by a thread, our insides going to jelly, and the weird, uncomfortable squeeze is dark and scary. I felt a strange kinship to the green little worm in a sleeping bag.
Perhaps you’re also in a season of transition - some kind of forced dying to your former life. It’s hard to have hope, isn’t it?
It’s not enough to KNOW that the butterfly will eventually come forth. When we are stuck in the dark in-between places, we crave concrete evidence that there is beauty coming forth, even while we wait.
After a bit of dangling, our little green chrysalis suddenly displayed a beautiful gold thread at her top - evidence that a transformation was taking place.
Friend, in this season of squeezing, there is surely an emerging gold ring on your chrysalis - evidence of change taking place on the inside. A crown.
The caterpillar couldn’t see the gold decoration on the outside - her ornament was only visible to those looking on. Entomologists have found no concrete purpose for the chrysalis’s golden crown. It exists to simply display the glory of God.
As you wait, holding on through this season of self-death, others are seeing your crown and glorifying God.
There is nothing more for you to do but to rest here, letting your transformation be a display for His glory.
Time and mess and struggle are prerequisites for glorious victories. It was true for our butterfly, it was true for Jesus, and it’s probably true for you and me right now too.
In the early morning light, the chrysalis that had been quite green the night before was now translucent - bright orange wings visible beneath the confining membrane.
After snapping a few photos, I proceeded to open my Bible and read the prescribed verses in my reading plan. Isaiah 40 concludes: “They who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings...”
Looking up to ingest that promise, without any announcement or fanfare, the wait was suddenly over. There was our butterfly, hanging on the clear shell of her confinement, startled and unsteady.
Sometimes, the thing that kept us from spreading our wings unexpectedly releases us, and the overnight change leaves us just holding on, insecure and surprised.
Her wings, wrinkled and tight, dripped remnants of her liquified former self. The weight of former things sometimes has to evaporate before we can fly.
Dangling on the shell of her chrysalis, she wriggled her changed body for hours, pumping life into her limp wings, laboriously inflating them to their full magnificence.
When we see a butterfly in flight or a Christ-follower walking in a season of victorious blessing, it was certainly preceded by a time of hanging on upside down, gut-wrenching change, forced resting, breaking free, putting off the old self, and pumping life into the new things.
It’s all necessary before the flight. But flight is what we were designed to do - it is what all our effort and struggle is moving toward.
Waiting on the Lord in every phase of the cycle WILL renew our strength. Mounting up with wings again is always His plan.
Oh, the squeals of delight when my granddaughter saw our soft striped worm was transformed into a winged display of glory! The little miracle perched in her tiny hand, testing new wings before fluttering off into the sky.
Friend, our wait and mess and struggle ends in pure worship and grace.