Bob Tamasy: Canyons, Conceptions – And Cocoons

Thursday, July 5, 2018 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Have you ever seen one of those gossip magazines at the grocery store with a cover photo of a beautiful actress, except she’s not wearing any makeup? Who knew so much work went into making someone look gorgeous!

Beauty, of course, isn’t restricted to the realms of Hollywood. We find it all around us: spectacular sunrises or sunsets; scenery right after a snowfall; the pallet of colorful leaves in the autumn, or another of nature’s myriad wonders. We have manmade beauty: inspiring works of art; stirring  and complex musical compositions; a poem that grabs hold of the heart, or a stunning work of architecture.

Occasionally, as I’ve written before, I even encounter something that seems truly deserving of the term, “Awesome!” But to my shame, rarely do I feel appropriate appreciation for all that was involved in bringing about that awesomeness.

Take the Grand Canyon, for example, or other wondrous vistas around the world, even if they don’t quite match the famed Arizona landmark’s grandeur. We can’t begin to conceive the factors and forces that combined to create them. Years ago I visited Herend, Hungary, where I viewed exhibits of rare and exquisite porcelain and china treasured by collectors around the world. Painstaking artistry has gone into creating those pieces, some dating back to the 1800s, but we see only the finished product.

When we admire paintings or sculptures from art’s grand masters, we hardly fathom what went into each work’s conception or the years of preparation that led up to its execution. We can enjoy compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin and many others, but can we fully comprehend the inspiration – and perspiration – expended to complete such majestic works?

Even the simplest things manage to escape my understanding. As the late author and poet Maya Angelou wrote, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

As a butterfly flits from flower to flower, do we stop to ponder its prior journey from caterpillar to cocoon – the struggle it endured before arriving at such delicate beauty? There’s perhaps no more compelling symbol of rebirth in nature.

This leads me to consider the even more profound phenomenon of spiritual rebirth. Jesus told Nicodemus, the Jewish leader, “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). Then, for emphasis, Jesus restated, “You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8).

One way of understanding this powerful declaration is that becoming a part of God’s eternal family doesn’t involve making improvements – it requires total transformation, far more wondrous than what butterflies go through. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Most often, however, this “instant” transformation has been a long time in the making. In my case, even though I had an intellectual belief in God, it took more than 30 years before I was willing to embrace Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord. And yet, that was just the beginning. Ever since, God has been to work in and through my life, continuing to mold and shape me into the person He desires for me to be. I have been engaging, sometimes unwittingly or even unwillingly, in what Philippians 2:12 describes as, “working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” In other words, discovering how to work out what God has already worked in.

In terms of “beauty,” the Christian life is a bit of a mixed bag. At times we might strike others as splendid new creations, but at other times we slip back into the old forms of our past life, almost as if a butterfly could slip back to being a caterpillar. Maybe God should slap a sign on our backs reading, “Work in Progress.”

The good news about the Good News is that, indeed, God isn’t finished with us even after we become “born again.” As Philippians 1:6 affirms, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

At that moment we will realize the fulfillment of the assurance given to us in 1 John 3:2, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Perhaps then, more than ever, we’ll appreciate all the work that’s required to create a thing of true beauty.

- - - -

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

"Poverty Mindset" Is Sermon Topic Sunday At Metropolitan Tabernacle Church

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Gary Hathaway To Be In Boxing Match On Saturday

Annual Lutheran Advent Choral Festival Will Be Dec. 2


Metro Tab Church, 2101 West Shepherd Road in Chattanooga, invites the public to join them this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Senior Pastor Dr. Steve Ball will preach from his book "Secrets Of A Giant ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church's Pastor Gary Hathaway will be in a boxing match against Jay Bell on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The match will take place at the Red Bank Boxing Gym, 640 ... (click for more)

The 37th Annual Lutheran Advent Choral Festival will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 822 Belvoir Ave. Savior of the Nations Come is a hymn festival by ... (click for more)


Church

"Poverty Mindset" Is Sermon Topic Sunday At Metropolitan Tabernacle Church

Metro Tab Church, 2101 West Shepherd Road in Chattanooga, invites the public to join them this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Senior Pastor Dr. Steve Ball will preach from his book "Secrets Of A Giant Killer" on the subject of "Poverty Mindset." Music ministry will be led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. "Children's Pastor Olivia Aziz and the Metro Kidz staff would love to host your kids ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Gary Hathaway To Be In Boxing Match On Saturday

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church's Pastor Gary Hathaway will be in a boxing match against Jay Bell on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The match will take place at the Red Bank Boxing Gym, 640 Morrison Springs Road. Cost for the match is $7, which includes a hot dog and drink. (click for more)

Breaking News

Attorneys Ask Lifting Of Home Confinement For Hazelwood After Higher Court Allows Him To Stay Out During Appeal; Government Is Opposed

Attorneys for former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood are asking Judge Curtis Collier for the lifting of his home confinement after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said he could remain out during his appeal. In the alternative, the attorneys ask that he be able to leave his Knoxville home between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The motion also requests that Hazelwood be ... (click for more)

Tyner Man Arrested When Woman Finds Him With Items From Home Of Her Deceased Parents

A Tyner man has been arrested after police said a woman found him at the home of her deceased parents. J.C. Donaldson, 32, of 7239 Tyner Road, is charged with aggravated burglary. The woman said she found a white Buick in her parents' driveway. She said she called her sister to ask if it was her, but she said it was not. She ran into Donaldson, who told her that someone ... (click for more)

Opinion

Bring Jeff Styles Back Now That His Case Was Dismissed

Now that prosecutors have dropped charges against Jeff Styles — and he's not been found guilty by a jury of his peers — I hope Bill Lockhart and WGOW will return him to the station. I'm believe his listeners will welcome him back with open arms. After one has been through a ringer like this, I'm not sure how you get your life back unless a good guy like Mr. Lockhart steps up ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The 2018 Turkey Edition

We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving so today we are going to take a tiny turn away from regular Saturday Funnies to give way to our 2018 Turkey Edition Special. The idea is for this year’s Turkey edition to help you be the first invited for “seconds” in honor and recognition of your marvelous wit. Actually, this setup is remarkably easy. Early next week you next begin ... (click for more)