She’d been watching it for weeks. Observing. Studying. Googling words like “butterfly” and “cocoon.”
Mariah knew that this caterpillar—which had burrowed itself inside a cocoon—was destined to become something else, something new. A beautiful butterfly.
She couldn’t wait any longer. So she grabbed the scissors from the kitchen drawer, eager to help the butterfly spread its colorful wings and fly freely. Carefully she snipped open the side of the cocoon.
Instead of fluttering wings flapping excitedly, something mushy oozed out of the slit she had made. She should have googled “metamorphosis.”
A bit too eagerly, Mariah interrupted the process of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. It was too soon. Her excitement for something new wasn’t patient enough.
There’s excitement in the air. It’s a new year! A new decade! Time for new year’s resolutions about new habits, new direction, new commitments, new this, new that.
This is good, except when new isn’t the best option.
If you are struggling in your marriage, a new partner is most often not the right decision. If you need to find your true identity, a new wardrobe isn’t going to help. If you’re lazy and hard to get along with, a new job isn’t going to make things better.
Not giving up on your marriage, however, can produce something beautiful. Pursuing what it is that makes you who you are, perhaps through trial and error, will lead you to discover a person in the mirror who doesn’t need to be different to be someone special. Fighting the battle against your greatest enemy—yourself—isn’t always fun but if you’re always a victim you’ll never be a victor.
These are cocoons of transition and transformation. Interrupt the process too soon with something new, and you’ll get mushy disappointment.
Instead, hang in there. Don’t give up. Resist the urge to take off ramps or detours. The Bible writers cheer you on, “We count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11).
The word “persevere” literally means “remain under.” As in, don’t go anywhere else. Don’t put it down and replace it with something more attractive. Press on. Persevere. Keep running the race, or walking, or even crawling.
Job did this, and though the most intense cocoon of suffering he emerged beautiful and free and much more blessed. The Lord is full of blessings like compassion and mercy. He wants you to be full of his blessings, too.
He’s filling you up. He’s developing your faith, and strength, and character. It’s going to be beautiful and free.
PRAYER: Dear God, it’s so hard sometimes to hang in there. It can hurt. It can be confusing. Sometimes I just want something new, when you want me to keep walking the same path. Your navigation is perfect and loving. Help me follow faithfully. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read James chapter 5, comparing the long term approach, “hanging in there,” to the short term, short-sighted, impatient approach. Watch for warnings against self-indulgence, injustice, and grumbling. Enjoy encouragements about patience, perseverance, simple faith, the power of prayer, and the power of forgiveness.