Hosea 2:14-16: “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.”

Last night in a dream I lost everything, and it was pretty scary. Surrounded by strangers, I didn’t know where I was, had no ID on me, and I was barefoot. In my dream I stumbled on a pair of shoes a stranger left behind, and I decided to put them on. So I ended up walking in someone else’s shoes in no-man’s land, with no ID on me. Spooky dream!

Ever reinvented yourself? Whether life’s dire circumstances dictated it, or you decided what has worked doesn’t work for you anymore, and you needed to start something new. Depending on what you are reinventing, you’ll leave a thing or two behind and people connections along with it. The scary thing of reinventing yourself is the transformation process.  When we are in the middle of a transformation we are really in no-man’s land. We’ve left something behind because we decided we needed to go somewhere else, and the people we are leaving behind begin to back off while the new people in our life don’t know us yet. In terms of starting a new business, we still have to grow our client base as we are transitioning out of our previous line of work.

Transitory life situations such as these are small examples pointing towards a much bigger picture: the aging process. As we age we are slowly (or not so slowly) losing physical capabilities. We all age differently, but essentially we’re all losing something or leaving something behind. Some lose their sleep, their energy, their mobility, their youthful appearance; some lose limbs, their mental faculties, their lung capacities, and hearts’ sturdiness. Some deal with an impaired nervous system, some with ongoing pain in their bones, some fight cancer. We all become fragile as we age. Everybody has to deal with his or her body’s limitations one way or another and adjust to it. At some point we have to let go of everything we know and transition to a place we don’t know, when we pass from this life to the next.

On that note, I’ve always been fascinated with butterflies and moths, how they start out as little worm-like caterpillars and end up as winged beauties, totally other than the original shape they arrived in. In the confines of a chrysalis or a cocoon is where the magic of transformation happens. On a human level a similar transformation takes place. As much as we might try to avoid changes, we all know that nothing stays the same. Our earthly life is transitory in nature. The only certainty we really have is the Rock of Ages unmoved by the tides of time. We go to the Rock and we find that a whole new world opens up.

Metamorphosis paints a wonderful picture of a complete transformation –  remindful of believers successfully transitioning into the future of mankind, with a permanent body awaiting and a new life to explore. Something to keep in mind while struggling in our respective cocoons: remember that the adult butterfly procreates, not the youngster caterpillar. Even with peak performance our potential is still hidden in a cocoon of possibilities as long as we live life as we know it. Our unique capabilities will come to full fruition in the life to come. We will live life like never before. This prospect turns any valley of trouble into a gateway of solid hope.

In the here and now, suffice to say that any cocoon is temporary, change is necessary, and we need to take God’s hand reaching out to us as we navigate through untried territory. Not only will He lead us into a better tomorrow, we will also experience a better today.

“Butterfly, fly away
Got your wings, now you can’t stay
Take those dreams and make them all come true” (Miley Cyrus)

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