Tag Archives: transformation

Metamorphosis: Birthed into a New Season

image courtesy of play.google.com

image courtesy of play.google.com

As a child, I always looked forward to whatever new season was approaching.  I recall the restlessness of hot August days and my excitement at the prospect of new books and a new teacher for the upcoming school year.   In fact, I regularly had difficulty sleeping the night prior to the first day of school.   As we devoured the remains of the Thanksgiving turkey, I could hardly wait until Christmas;  I think I relished all the preparations as much as I loved the holiday itself — the music, the smells of special treats baking, the challenge of wrapping the packages and making the bows myself (yes, we did that back then!).  Of course, I loved the first scent of spring in the air; in fact, one sunny February day, as I watched the snow melt outside my dormitory window, I even wrote a poem about what I imagined to be the smell of dusky books and robins’ eggs, with snowmen basking in pools adorned with tiny green blades of grass.  As May approached, I was always excited at the prospect of summer at home with my sisters.   

As an adult, this sense of constant anticipation has turned, in some cases, to a certain degree of dread.   Of course, I still feel excitement at times, but I have learned through experience that the things I use to long for and excitedly await were generally too quickly behind me.   A child’s graduation seemed to come at warp speed, almost hard on the heels of the miraculous birth process.  Over the years, I have developed a rather complex set of coping mechanisms in an attempt to keep the roller-coaster passage of time at bay.  Nevertheless, despite my efforts, I feel myself catapulted into new seasons that I am abysmally unprepared to face.   I never imagined myself as a mother with no children to supervise.  I never imagined that Christmas could come far too soon for my taste and find me behind schedule!   I never imagined I would NOT want my next birthday to hasten its arrival.  I never would have thought it possible that I would feel outdated, outmoded, or that my familiar ways of functioning would be rendered ineffective.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to my heart?   I believe He is directing me to move with confidence out of my old season and into a new, unfamiliar season where I have much to learn and must trust Him completely.  Just as a caterpillar (who is probably perfectly happy munching his way to oblivion every day) must move into a dark, confined space and be rendered immovable, at least for a season, for God’s magical transformation to take place, I am compelled to recognize I can no longer fuel myself with the things of the past and trust Him in the places I cannot understand.   Only then can the metamorphosis take place; only then can He fashion wings for me to fly in the next season.   

Of course, I could very well insist on staying the same.   However, I would miss the mystery and glory of what God created me to do and be.   Each season of life serves to move us into a greater experience of His glory and goodness (“And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];”  Philippians 3:10, Amplified Bible).  Even if we do NOT enjoy the transformation process while we are in the throes of it, Hosea admonishes us NOT to remain too long in the womb, which ultimately would mean certain death:   “The wickedness of Ephraim [which is not yet completely punished] is bound up [as in a bag];
His sin is stored up [for judgment and destruction].  The pains of childbirth come on him;
But he is not a wise son, for it is not the time to delay [his chance at a new birth] as the womb opens [but he ignores the opportunity to change]”  (Hosea 13:12-13 AMP).  The name Ephraim has to do with fruitfulness; if we refuse to move out of the womb of the past or present into our next season of life, we will surely die in situ and will not experience the fruitfulness God has planted is us.

I pray that I will move willingly from each larval stage (aka caterpillar) to the dark changing room of the pupa in the cocoon, then fly free and reflect God’s light and life to others.  Hanging onto my old coping strategies, the old seasons, and the glories of the past will not look too glorious as time rushes past me.   My former clothing has become tattered, and what used to be fresh bread is old hat now.   Father, help me to shed things from the old season that have become a shroud, and teach me to fly!

 

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The Sweetness of the Cross

images8ESYTBYZThen Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”  And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”  (Exodus 15:22-25)

This passage from the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness serves as an illustration of the power of the Cross in our daily lives.  In case you haven’t noticed, life seems to offer us a vast array of opportunities to taste rejection, disappointment, hurt, pain, infirmity, misunderstanding, and sorrow.  The fact that the Israelites recognized that the water was impotable — potentially even toxic — was significant!   Often we ignorantly take a deep swig of bitterness and end up experiencing its toxic effects for a long time after the poison has been ingested.   At least they knew the waters were bitter and unsuitable for consumption.

When Moses cried out to the Lord for help, He showed Moses a remedy in the form of a piece of wood.  In the Hebrew, the word is not a log, but rather a tree.  Jesus Christ was crucified on a tree and thereby redeemed us from every curse.  “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written,Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'”  (Galatians 3:13)   In the Old Testament reference here, the word for tree is the same as the word used for log in the Exodus passage. Just as the tree absorbed the bitterness of the water and made it sweet (safe to drink), the redemption provided by the Cross absorbs the bitterness of our sin and makes life sweet.   The Cross transforms the bitter waters of life’s painful experiences and losses into a door of hope for restoration and redemption. 

Father, teach me how to cast the power of the Cross into every river of pain and loss that I must navigate.  You are more than able to absorb the bitterness of my disappointments and give me in exchange a taste of Your sweet living water.  Remind me to apply the Tree to every trial, in Jesus’ Name, and watch your transforming power at work!

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The Desire of All Nations — The Heavenly Man

http://stnoufer.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/nativity1.jpgThe prophet Haggai proclaimed, “‘And I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.”  (Haggai 2:7)  The Desire of All Nations is a title for the Messiah, God-With-Us.   He is the epitome of anything and everything that has eternal value for anyone on the face of the earth.   He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End — the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

However, not everything we DESIRE here on earth necessarily comes  to pass.  In fact, seldom can we ourselves actually transform our desires into expectations that are fulfilled.   The good news is that God does the transforming, as HE HImself is the true desire of our hearts, whether we recognize that fact or not — He alone can satisfy our desire for fulfillment, completion, satisfaction, and purpose.   When we acknowledge that He is the only one that can quench our longing for significance, our desire becomes a concrete sense of expectation.   Just as a woman can desire to birth a child, yet only actually EXPECTS a child when she is physically proven to be pregnant, our desire for meaning and purpose in life can only become an expectation when certain confidence of that desire’s fulfillment becomes evident.

How can we be confident that Jesus will ever truly be, not only the Desire of All Nations, but our one true desire?  How can we expect Him to be what He says He will be for us?

He promises to be Emmanuel — God-With-Us.  Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15 that the first Adam was a man of the earth, a man of dust.   The last Adam, Jesus, was the heavenly Man.   Paul affirms that “as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:49). Jesus, Son of God, literally came to earth in the likeness of the man of dust (aka a human being like ourselves) in order to empower us to carry His DNA and bear His image, the image of the heavenly Man!  What an amazing promise!   Even though Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, was subsequently resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, He lives in us by His Spirit and has truly become our expectation of life:  Christ in us, the hope of glory! (see Colossians 1:27)  

The Desire of All Nations has become our sure expectation.  When we allow the incarnation to happen in us, the risen Savior begins to replicate His glorious DNA in us, complete with His fruit and character (2 Corinthians 3:18).  We begin to look like Him and sound like Him; we become a radiant reflection of Christ in our very own man of dust.

Father, may I rest in the assurance of Your Presence in me as I receive the truth of your coming to earth in the likeness of the man of dust.   Thank You that I can always EXPECT You to be ever-present with me.   You never leave me, and I am confident You will continue to multiply Your goodness in and through me, in Jesus’ Name!

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