Thursday, September 19, 2013

OMTL Day 19: "Metamorphosis"

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
     he restores my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.

     --Psalm 23:2-3

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
         --Romans 12:2

What comes to mind when you hear the word metamorphosis? You probably think of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The grubby little caterpillar spins a cocoon, crawls in and sleeps, and emerges as something completely different--a beautiful butterfly. 

This process is symbolic of what God wants to do in our lives. God wants to change us from what we are now into something beautiful. 

Notice two things about the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. First, for the transformation to happen, the caterpillar has to get quiet and still. It's the same with us. Kerry Shook says, "Spiritual growth and transformation will never occur in your life until you finally get still, until you stop moving." Commenting on today's Scripture from Psalm 23, he says, "Motion and commotion steal the soul, but stillness restores the soul" (OMTL, p. 145). 

Second, notice that for the transformation to be complete, there has to be struggle. The story is told of a young boy who noticed a chrysalis hanging on a tree branch. When he saw that a brand new butterfly was emerging, he thought he'd help it along. He used his pocket knife to cut open the chrysalis so that the butterfly could fly right out. But it didn't. It lay in the boy's hand with wet, floppy wings -- and it died.

You see, struggling to get out of the chrysalis strengthens the butterfly's wings. Remove the struggle and you defeat the process. For transformation to happen, there has to be struggle. 

And it's the same with us. 

Stillness. Struggle. It takes both of these for metamorphosis to happen. 

Quiet moments in the presence of God not only "restore your soul" -- they also give you a chance to gain a new perspective on your struggles -- a perspective that lets you see them in a new light, as opportunities for growth. So today, find some time to be still and reflect on your struggles. Take a walk in the woods, sit on the back porch, go outside at night and look at the stars, go in a room by yourself...whatever works for you. Try reading Psalm 23 several times, quietly and prayerfully. Pray the Psalm -- i.e., ask God to "walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death," and to "comfort you," etc. Ask God to show you what He wants to teach you in whatever struggles you're facing. 

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