I want to share with you a little about the company that I'm working at, Thermal Vac, in the city of Orange. They have a sign that they call their Guiding principles and it states their mission, their vision, and their passion, among other things. When I read their passion, it really got my attention. And this is what they have listed as their passion:
PASSION - We build good parts here, at a profit if we can, a loss if we must, but always good parts.
As I stood there looking at that statement, a question came to my mind. Am I this kind of man? Am I that guy who will seek to live as a good and godly man when it benefits me but who will also willingly sacrifice if necessary to always live as a good and godly man?
Is this your passion as well? To be a good man, regardless of whether you gain or lose, but always a good man?
Just speaking for myself and looking at my life up to this point, I would have to conclude that that statement is not an accurate description of who I was. But, praise God, that’s not where I have to stay.
This change actually takes a lifetime to truly become that kind of man. In Christian theology that is known as sanctification.
And the source and power for this radical transformation is the very same power that created the universe as well as you and me. This is the God of the Bible.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20 ESV
There is an outstanding example of this kind of transformation in nature that we can learn from. It is the woolly bear caterpillar which becomes the Tiger moth at maturity. I think most of us remember playing with them as kids.
There is one species in particular, the Arctic woolly bear, which is unique for being an incredible survivor since it has to contend with some of the harshest conditions on the planet. In many ways though, there is not much difference between what they do and what other caterpillars do. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed constantly just like any other caterpillar. But this one needs to spend a long time feeding due to the climate in which it lives.
The Arctic woolly bear moth’s range extends to the Arctic Circle, in Canada and even Greenland. In such conditions, a caterpillar has to spend the winter in its larval form. This far north, the shortages in vegetation mean that food does not come easily and so the woolly bear spends a long time frozen. While covered in ice and frost, the little creatures must depend on a cryoprotectant, or antifreeze in order to stay alive. These cryoprotectants are based on sugars in their bodies, which in turn protect their delicate tissues from temperatures that ordinarily plummet below zero. Some have been found surviving through temperatures 70 degrees below freezing.
Many cold-blooded animals have an antifreeze chemical or chemicals in their blood. For example many fish and frogs that live in colder climates are able to survive after being frozen. Once thawed out they will resume activity once more. The Arctic woolly bear moth caterpillars are no different.
But these furry critters take their adaptations a few steps further though. Some have been documented to live through as much as fourteen winters in harsher climates. That’s FOURTEEN YEARS before becoming what they were created to be. There, the summers are so short and their food demand is so high that even a full day spent eating is not enough to sate the larva’s immense appetite. Only 5% of their lives are spent eating their favorite food, the tiny Arctic willow. It takes a lot of energy for the metamorphosis that happens inside the cocoon.
These guys even use a special type of cocoon called a hibernacula to shield themselves. These cocoons also help to protect the caterpillars from parasites.
More than 90% of their life is spent in the hibernacula, while much of the feeding occurs in June. Come spring though, wherever they live, some woolly bears will become adult moths.
The Arctic woolly bear moth is not the most conspicuous or even the most well-known of all moths. It is certainly not the most attractive insect, coming in shades of grey with rather complex black patterns. The upper wings are much darker than the under wings.
And as adults, the moths have just a few days to find a mate and reproduce, after which they die. They lack mouthparts and are unable to feed, just like many other species of moth. So you wouldn’t find this moth pollinating any flowers or drinking nectar any day soon.
The moth’s life though is far from sorrowful. The moth as an adult has only one purpose and that is to mate and reproduce, leaving another generation of caterpillars to survive through the winter as little fuzzy popsicles buried under frozen soil.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV
As you go through this metamorphosis in your own life, know that no matter how hard the struggle it is, the end result will far exceed your worse suffering.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV
No matter how long it takes, you can become that consistently good and godly man that you were created to be in the first place. So, when your families, friends, and lovers reject or abandon you, and nothing seems to be going right, just remember the woolly bear caterpillar.
Keep focused on what you’re supposed to do, on the things you can control. And remember that God will do for you what you can’t do for yourself as you remain focused on you should be doing.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV
So seek to fellowship and interact with other Christians with love for one another right where you are at. And as God begins that painful process of stripping away everything that you have cherished, you will find your satisfaction and identity in Him.
God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him. – John Piper; DesiringGod.org
Your brother and servant, David Kamashian