“The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.” ~ Henri Nouwen
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes – and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“You could more easily catch a hurricane in a shrimp net that you can understand the wild, relentless, passionate, uncompromising, pursuing love of God made present in the manger.” ~ Brennan Manning
“Let’s approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush.” ~ Author Unknown
The caterpillar certainly identifies with the feeling of loss and lack of control as his body slowly scrunches into a pupa or chrysalis. Darkness engulfs him, and he can no longer move.
His old self slowly dies but transforms into a beautiful butterfly that slowly emerges from captivity through a tiny opening. A struggle is necessary to push the fluid out of his body into his wings. If the struggle is hurried, the result will be shriveled wings and no ability to fly. After he stretches and dries his wings in a world of light, he is freed to fly.
“Perhaps the butterfly is proof
that you can go through a great deal of darkness
yet become something beautiful.”
– Beau Taplin –
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Chang Tzu –
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
“I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him.” John 12:46 VOICE
Nothing Is Wasted
by Jason Gray
“The hurt that broke your heart And left you trembling in the dark Feeling lost and alone Will tell you hope’s a lie But what if every tear you cry Will seed the ground where joy will grow
And nothing is wasted Nothing is wasted In the hands of our Redeemer Nothing is wasted…”
When sea turtles hatch and dig their way out of the sand, they follow the light of the moon over the ocean, their home. Sometimes when clouds cover the light of the moon or there are too many beachfront artificial lights, they get disoriented. Recently in a movie, I saw some sea turtle protectors guide them on a cloudy night. The turtles saw another distant light, so they turned towards it. The protectors formed a line on their knees to block out the false light while one of them got on his boat and shone a bright light several feet from shore. The turtles turned again and finally arrived at their ocean home.
It sounds a lot like our spiritual journey in this life, doesn’t it? We may be following the True Light of love to dip ourselves into the healing waters of His grace, but distractions or temptations in this world can lure us and lead us away from Him. Maybe it’s not always intentional, but we get confused by all the artificial lights. Even Satan can masquerade himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and he constantly works to turn us away from the True Light. I’m so glad that He who is the Light of the world shines and prevails over all false lights and draws us to Himself, aren’t you?
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the Light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.'” John 8:12
Never Give Up When the Going Gets Tough
Green sea turtle babies are only 2 inches long. It’s a looong walk to the ocean. Then there are the obstacles. Can you imagine what a big footprint in the sand or a piece of driftwood would look like to such a tiny turtle? In a video, I saw one flip to its back because of the deepness of the footprint, but he flipped himself back upright and kept on heading to the ocean. They persevere and trudge onward.
Our journeys here on earth can be filled with mountains of troubles and pits of difficulties, obstacles that set us back or make us want to sit down in despair and forget about putting one foot in front of the other towards our eternal home with Jesus.
These little turtles persevere in the midst of obstacles and challenges, even in danger from predators. Cannot the same God who created them and gives them strength to move on also give us strength to endure?
No, it’s not easy, but God’s powerful love and mercy are more than enough, and He is always available, regardless of what situation we’re in. Yes, maybe we will feel flipped upside-down and unable to flip ourselves right-side-up again to keep going. But He promises us that His power is made perfect in weakness. He never said there won’t be troubles in this world, but He has promised He has a plan for our good and He’ll get us through.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
“But You, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.”
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“A Living Prayer”
by Alison Krauss
“In this world I walk alone with no place to call my home But there’s one who holds my hand The rugged road through barren lands The way is dark, the road is steep But He’s become my eyes to see The strength to climb, my griefs to bear The Savior lives inside me there…”
“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.” Ephesians 3:16