Did you know spring is like Christmas? In their own ways, they’re both a “most wonderful time of the year.” Springtime brings warmer temperatures; flowers are starting to burst forth; and nature as a whole is emerging from its winter slumbers. It’s a time for renewal, reinvigoration, even rebirth.
Before long we’ll be seeing those creatures both curious and wonderful – caterpillars – crawly little critters aspiring to become something bigger, brighter and definitely more beautiful: Butterflies.
What an amazing thing: a fuzzy creature slinking slowly along the ground that somehow knows how to build a rebirthing chamber called a chrysalis, only to emerge within a few short weeks as something totally different, newly equipped with delicate, colorful wings for flitting from place to place.
This is more than a scientific marvel. It’s a miracle, a profound example of God’s creative capacities. It’s also a glorious metaphor for spiritual truth – God’s grand desire to turn each of us into something totally new, unstained by sin and its consequences. In fact, 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Sounds like that one-time caterpillar that has wrestled out of its chrysalis, doesn’t it? The difference is, our own transformation spiritually is all God’s doing. We respond to Him by faith, but He’s the change agent. As Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). We can’t do that ourselves.
It’s a profound mystery, but true nonetheless, that as Galatians 2:16-20 describes it, “…So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law…. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Why is this comparison of the lowly caterpillar and humans so important? Because it provides a common but compelling example of how God has worked from the very beginning, first speaking substance out of nothingness, as well as taking the old and broken and restoring it in ways that no longer resemble what was before. In Isaiah 43:18-19 God declares, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing? Now it sprints up; do you not perceive it?”
One doesn’t need to look too hard or too far to observe the sorry, sickly state into which our society has descended. In vain we look for manmade cures. The very best that government or business or philosophy can conjure fall way short of fixing the seemingly unfixable. New laws, innovations and human reasoning seem little more than a Band-Aid for problems that require major surgery for spiritual heart disease.
Should we give up in frustration and despair? Not at all, and that’s one reason I believe God created the caterpillar-butterfly metamorphosis. It’s a visible depiction of how He intends to work in each of our lives, if we let Him.
Near the close of the Book of all books, the Lord says, “I am making everything new!... Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true…. It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Revelation 21:5-6).
The “new thing” God spoke about thousands of years ago, as recorded by the prophet Isaiah? He’s still doing it. Current residents of a world overwhelmed by so much pain and sorrow, we have the promise of a new world like nothing we’ve known:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).
Any time you’re feeling down in the dumpster, fearing our world is going the wrong place in the proverbial handbasket, just look at a butterfly for a reminder: New things, they are a-comin’!
* * *
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.