“A butterfly comes from a chrysalis; a moth comes from a cocoon.” I remember that from Science class as a kid. But I have discovered those teachers back then didn’t tell us everything about this topic.
A caterpillar encases itself in a chrysalis to become a butterfly, but to go from ground-dwelling to airborne takes some doing. Until recently, I thought it had to be a simple process. Caterpillar goes to sleep, wings sprout, chrysalis pops open, butterfly stretches for a while…then, one flap, two, and it takes to the breeze. That’s what I was taught.
Turns out, a caterpillar, well…melts.
After getting itself snugged into its little case, it releases digestive enzymes that promptly reduce it to a sticky goo of nutrients and clumps of specialized cells. It literally dissolves most of itself. From this broth, stewing in a thin case suspended between earth and sky, those winged creatures arise to ride the winds.
We aren’t so different, we humans. Got a message from a friend tonight who is going through a hard time. Seems that everything is converging upon her life at once. Pressure. Disappointment. Memories.
We all face those times. Times of betrayal. Times of confusion. Times of pain. I know I have had a heaping serving of such times as of late.
But like the caterpillar’s dramatic change into something other, we must go through a process to become what God intends us to be. It’s not easy, this metamorphosis of ours. It melts us down through the hurt, the dying desires and the broken promises. God melts us. He dissolves those things that keep us heavy-anchored. He whispers that we could do more than crawl, if only we stay put and allow Him to do that deepest work, that most important work, when we are locked away in the darkness and stillness of our own hearts. We wait. Watch. Abide. We struggle in that place between heaven and earth, knowing there is more, but not always understanding that to fly will require a backward step, one that breaks us of our own self-will and self-reliance. To become like Christ is to become less like us.
The way of our increase is through our reduction. The way of our exaltation is only through humility. And the way of the deepest change comes only through the deepest of pain. Only when I realize those truths will I be willing to pray, “Melt me.”
James 1:2-4, Galatians 2:20, Romans 12:2-5, Job 23:10