Beauty From Ashes
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:17 & Isaiah 61:3
My daughter asked for a butterfly garden for Christmas one year, and I was clueless. I called another parent with older kids to begin my research. It turns out that a butterfly garden is a netted habitat, and when you purchase one you receive a certificate for butterfly larvae (i.e., caterpillars).
When the outside temperature began to warm, we sent in our certificate and received five caterpillars in the mail. Who knew that you could mail caterpillars? We followed the instructions and ended up with beautiful butterflies that we released into our backyard.
Children's books can glorify metamorphosis all they want, but that process is dirty, messy and ugly! I'll save you the graphic details, but there is nothing glamorous about watching a caterpillar become a butterfly.
The same is true for us. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” But that's not usually easy. Growing in our relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to change us can be a difficult process. It will require choosing what is best over what is easy.
Our God specializes in taking the dirty, messy and ugly circumstances in our lives and turning them into something beautiful and useful. Isaiah reminds us that Jesus came to do this very thing - “to bestow on [us] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
Caterpillar to butterfly. Ashes to beauty. Death to life. As we get serious about obedience in our relationship with Jesus, He changes us to be more like Him. And that's a beautiful thing.