Profound Change. Tranformation. Complete Change in Appearance or Form.

Change is an interesting thing. We are surrounded by it in nature and in our own lives. It is said that the only certainty in life is change. Yet it surprises us so often. And so many of us hate it. We live in fear of bad changes and never expecting good ones. We take our lives, our circumstances and those around us at face value, never thinking that the next day everything could look totally different.

We serve a God who does not change like shifting shadows, yet works constantly through changes. His goal for us is change. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Yet, He wants us to be steady and unchanging as He is.

It all seems puzzling and contradictory. But doesn't God always seem to be full of contradictions? Yet He is always the same. He never fails. He never changes Who He is. That brings us to the word paradox, but we'll leave that one for another day.

I, personally, am someone who hates change. I don't particularly care for suprises and I struggle to have any spark of spontaneity in my life. I like steady, predictable, safe. But I also assume, being the pessimist that I am, that people or bad situations will never change. Like so many people, I look at others who seem so opposed to God and think, "Well, they will never change. There's no hope for them." I may not say it aloud, because that wouldn't seem very Godly, but in my heart I think it. I pray for people or situations or even my own heart, but I don't really expect transformation to occur. But it should not be that way.

God's Word is FULL of people who were unexpected. You never know how people will turn out. Appearances are deceiving. It seems that God thrives on taking the hopeless or the unassuming....the last one we would pick...and tranforming them or their situations into something amazing. All we have to do is step out our front doors to see the changes He performs all around us that are physical examples of His goal for each of His children. The unassuming, chubby, earth-bound caterpillar crawls into a brown blob, only to emerge looking totally unlike his former self. In a matter of days, a dead stick of a tree becomes a flower-filled dogwood. The storm clouds clear to reveal a beautiful, sun-streaked blue sky behind them.

Things are not always what they seem once God has His way. In Genesis, take a look at the beginnings of God's chosen people, Israel. Despite being a member of the patriarchal family, Joseph's circumstances went from bad to worse. Hopeless. How else would it look through the world's eyes? Yet God was just performing a change. A transformation. A metamorphosis. Through a scary, unsettling, and apparently unfair series of events, He was changing a spoiled, pampered boy into a Godly man of perseverance and leader of a nation. He was changing a cruel, selfish group of brothers into men of sacrifice and integrity. He was changing a disfunctional family into a holy, chosen nation.

In the gospel of John, think of Jesus' first miracle. He took something ordinary and transformed it into something lavish. The water became wine. The mundane became the best of the best.

Look at God's chosen king of Israel, David. He was the youngest, the smallest, the shepherd rather than the warrior. But God had big plans. Over the course of many years and much fear and heartache, He transformed the lowly shepherd boy into a mighty and honored king.

Take the mighty man of God - Paul. How did he start out? Self-righteous. Prideful. Arrogant. Cruel. Totally missing the boat on Who God is. But through a blinding light and a radical experience with Christ, the spiritually blind Saul's eyes were opened and he was transformed. What words can describe who he became? Sold-out. Passionate. A lover of God's truth. Totally focused on Christ.

And take the crowning example of them all. A man - bruised, battered, bloody, crucified, dead. The end of a movement. The end of the hope of His disciples and even the world. A quiet, motionless tomb. The victory of the enemy. Or so it would seem. But then light and life emerged. What seemed to be the end was simply the beginning. God had a plan all along - a plan greater than we could ever have imagined.

If God were to let all things remain the same, we would find ourselves in a sad state of affairs. Lives would remain broken and hopeless. Hearts would remain sinful and empty. Families would remain fractured and painful. The truth is the One who never changes uses changes to produce change. So many times, our change in circumstances (even - and especially - the bad ones) is the very tool that God uses to change our hearts and our lives for the better. The caterpillar must crawl into the dark, lonely, quiet cocoon if he ever wants to emerge as a magnificent butterfly, ready to fly and declare God's glory by his mere existence and appearance.

Whether we are looking for transformation in our own lives or wondering if someone else we know will ever "get it together" or see God's truth and be transformed by it, remember that God is in the business of change. I think He loves nothing more than revealing His glory by taking what appears to be hopelessly broken and ready for the garbage heap and, by the power of His Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, complete a metamorphosis into something new, beautiful, and breathtaking.

We serve a God who does not change like shifting shadows but, by His grace, changes us.


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