There once was a caterpillar who saw himself just as a caterpillar. He was depressed and sad because he couldn’t soar with the creatures in the air, for that was his greatest desire. But, he would never soar, he thought, because he was merely a caterpillar. One day a beautiful butterfly came to the caterpillar and asked why he was so sad. The caterpillar told him his sad tale, and the butterfly began to laugh. He said, “You silly slug! Don’t you know that you can be changed into a butterfly like I am? I too was once a caterpillar, but I was transformed into a butterfly.” The butterfly then tried to share with the caterpillar how he could be transformed, but the caterpillar refused to believe it. Try as he might, the butterfly could not convince the caterpillar that he could be transformed. He flew away in frustration, thinking “this is hopeless.” The caterpillar stayed planted on the ground thinking, “I am hopeless!”
We have come to believe that what we do and our ability to please others is what leads to love, acceptance, and purpose in our lives, but this formula is a sham. It is a way for us to compensate for the brokenness of our soul created by our sin and separation from God. Our fulfillment in life depends not on our skills to avoid life’s problems but on our ability to apply God’s specific solutions to those problems. The basic need of every person is to regard himself as a worthwhile person, but only God can provide the significance we need.
Many people view themselves as hopeless because they see themselves as caterpillars, and they can’t see that there’s any hope beyond crawling in the dirt. Past actions, things that have been done to us, desires that we can’t shake, something about our appearance make it impossible for us to experience consistent happiness, peace, or joy. We build our significance on our past behavior, measuring our identity through the memory of yesterday’s disappointments and failures. We live in the abyss of shame.
Shame is the poignant pain of feelings of inferiority. Because we have this deep sense of inferiority, we behave in a way that is consistent with our perception of ourselves. We build a statue in our soul to remind us how bad we have it and worship each day throughout the day at its altar. Like tar on a beach sticking to our feet, shame becomes the emotional tar of our souls. When we are stuck in a caterpillar life, shame constructs our identity with the mortar of despair and the bricks of hopelessness.
The Bible tells us that life is not hopeless, and we aren’t stuck in the cell of our shame.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6, NKJV)
God’s love invades our caterpillar life! Jesus invades this world and crushes the power of Satan and sin at the Cross. God in His mercy and love brought new life to sinners. Paul describes God’s compassionate care, sensitivity, and love for humanity in their destitution. God looked upon sinners enslaved and had compassion for them in their plight. The cause of His mercy to flow toward sinners enslaved is His great love.
Once we have been freed we continue in that new life of freedom. We have been rescued, and we remain rescued for all eternity. It is not the work that we have done that has brought new life (Eph 2:8-9). It is wholly the work of God’s grace. Indeed, we have been saved by the grace of God, His gift to sinners.
Like a caterpillar transformed to a butterfly, in Christ we are transformed from the inside-out. Our past doesn’t define us. Our appearance isn’t our identity. Jesus shatters the statue of self-pity and destroys the idol of hopelessness through His death and resurrection!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3, NKJV)
Today, hear the song of hope that God’s love sings to our soul. Hear the note of triumph to resound through the halls of our heart as it echoes through the hall of heaven. In His merciful, compassionate, love, God offers us help when we could not help ourselves. Our hope won’t die because Jesus is alive! The purpose of new birth is a “living hope.” This is a vigorous hope that lives in the present and moves toward the future. Here we find a hope by which we can live each day and in which the terrors of the night are swallowed by the bright light of Christ’s resurrection.
1. Be rescued by God’s love. It is the goodness of God that leads sinners to repentance (Rom 2:4). His love displayed through patience and mercy and the display of His grace opens your heart today. My prayer is that you might be rescued by His love through faith in Jesus Christ.
2. Be satisfied in God’s love. God is the greatest satisfaction. To praise God, therefore, is the consummate joy in a life gripped by the grandeur, majesty, and unsearchable greatness of God. In praise, we find the fulfillment of our great joy, which is supreme satisfaction in God through Christ. Stand upon the faithfulness of God’s great love, each day resting in His glorious embrace.