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Caterpillars

wooly-caterpillar

 …and He answered by setting me free.

—Psalm 118:5b

My youngest son was a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of kid. He always had a pocket full of rocks to show me at the end of the day, along with an explanation of why each one was such a treasure to him. On more than one occasion, he brought home a special little "friend," from a tiny toad to a fuzzy, black and orange caterpillar he discovered who knows where?

Caterpillars were his favorite though. So, on one occasion we let Kyle keep his furry friend, making a little habitat for him so we could watch his activities up close and personal.

Over time, the big glass jar we had filled with branches, morphed into the home of a brownish cocoon. Month after month we watched and waited. We even went to the library to check out books on caterpillars so we could be better informed about what was happening inside that little sac. We learned that a caterpillar's life span is short, and that he enters his cocoon for self-preservation. We also learned, to our alarm, that it is during this chrysalis stage, as scientists call it, that the pupa (or changing little caterpillar) is most vulnerable…he can stop growing and begin to shrivel up and die.

We humans tend to retreat into a safe little chrysalis of self-preservation as well, especially when circumstances come into our lives that make us feel vulnerable, or when the fear of an unknown future threatens our well-being. The trouble is, just like a caterpillar, if we stay in that seemingly safe environment too long, we can easily get stuck there, putting our emotional and spiritual lives at great risk.

Thanks to His creative imagination, God has a plan in mind for caterpillars that doesn't just extend their lives—He completely transforms them! And that was the happy case for our furry, black and orange friend.When we could see his sac thinning and wings forming, we knew it was time to put the big glass jar out onto the patio and watch the miracle unfold.

God never intended caterpillars to stay in their cocoons any more than He intends for you or me to remain in our chrysalis of self-preservation. Although He understands our need to feel safe, to seek shelter when our hearts feel insecure, He also knows that if we but trust His heart, and step back out into the life He has called us to; He will transform even the scariest of unknown futures into something beautiful. He will give us wings to soar up and above the troubles of this life. He will set our hearts free to know Him in ways we could never experience in the shelter of our self-made cocoons.

Lord, when troubles enter my life, my first inclination is to retreat into a safe little cocoon of self-preservation.Set me free…I want to experience the beauty and potential You have in store for me today! 

A Forest Fable
Come Alive
 

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