I was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar with Kira this week, and I light bulb went on in my brain. If you are unfamiliar with the story, let me sum it up for you: The caterpillar starts out very tiny and very hungry, eats a whole bunch of fruit, then a whole bunch of junk food, then a leaf, becomes huge, builds a cocoon around himself, stays inside for a while, and emerges a beautiful butterfly. It’s a book about metamorphosis, counting, the days of the week, and it has wonderful little holes which babies love to stick their fingers in. Kira thinks it’s great.
I sometimes feel like the very hungry caterpillar in that I am very hungry to learn the ways of Christ. I start out all small and I eat the Word and pray until I am hugely fat. Then I go into a period of stasis. No change, no growth, and sometimes even a reclusive hiding within myself (I have mentioned this in previous posts) that I am rather ashamed of. I’m no longer able to absorb any more, and embarrassed that I’m not full of life and energy and a strong desire to work and grow and change. I’m supposed to keep growing, aren’t I?
But a little part of me wonders if the God who created the whole universe, and who made little pudgy caterpillars hide in a cocoon until they transformed into something different, understands my slow, uneven transformation. My tendency to make huge leaps and bounds in my relationship with Christ and in personal change, then to plateau. And during that plateau, my desire to be secret and private about the little things that are happening that I don’t know how to face, and that I really don’t understand.
If I look back, there is inevitably a change that results from the stasis – sometimes amazing, deep, heart-change – that can even be unnoticed at the time. Call it true humility, it is the unobtrusive, God-wrought change that makes me more beautiful than I was before. It is the inconspicuous alterations that will hopefully result in me becoming a true daughter of God in the sense that I am like, as much as humanly possible, His true Son. I know that I am not a beautiful butterfly each and every day, and that many people can attest to that fact, but I hope that all the minute tweaks and adjustment that God is steadily working in my character will cause me, over the years and ages, to be lovely in spirit.
Metamorphosis is such a mysterious and beautiful happening, and it awes and intrigues everyone who sees it or learns about it. I wonder if God is looking over the edge of heaven at all the people who have stuck a cocoon-swollen stick in a jar, waiting for the butterfly to emerge, saying, “Just wait until you see what I can do in a person! This is just a little taste!” I imagine that He is as excited by our transformation into something beautiful as the most enthusiastic 5-year-old is about the butterfly jar.
Like a hungry caterpillar readying itself to morph into a butterfly, I hope and pray that you will ready yourself for transformation into the likeness of Christ, which God desires to work in you.
“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13