Here’s to Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly by JOHN MCKEEL
Monarch butterfly in Connecticut by John McKeel

This is the week I dread most each year. I set it aside for my yearly “tune-up.” Monday are labs and a visit to the ophthalmologist. Tuesday is a root canal. Wednesday is my annual top to bottom physical. (No pun intended) Thursday is the hearing doctor. Growing older isn’t for wimps! (Did I mention the root canal and upcoming eye surgery?)

On the other hand, this body isn’t designed to last forever. The Apostle Paul promised:

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:50 – 52).

But this will be the second time we’ve been changed. Paul also told the Romans:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1 – 2; See also 2 Corinthians 3:18).

The word Paul used that is translated “transformed” in English is metamorphoo (μεταμορφόω). Our word “metamorphosis” comes from it. It describes a change that comes from the inside out. Just like you don’t make butterflies by pinning paper wings on worms, we must be “transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Our word is used to describe the change that came over Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration:

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2).

Interestingly, this verb is always in the passive tense in the New Testament. It cannot be something we do for ourselves. It is a blessing God bestows on us. Now think of the humble caterpillar. I wonder when the caterpillar spins his cocoon, does he believe it is the end? Does he feel he spinning himself a silken coffin?

If you’re about to lose heart – if you look in the mirror and see only wrinkles – look for a butterfly “for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

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