By Carissa Van Schooten
“…wrestling with a good God, whose very presence demands your transformation…”
I came across the above quote in my reading this past month, and found myself stuck on it. There was something about the quote that kept pulling me back, something that seemed discordant. “A good God, who demands transformation…” How can a good anything demand something? Isn’t good supposed to be gentle, kind, gracious, understanding, compassionate, and all the other synonyms that match those virtues?
And transformation. I love the concept as it relates to a caterpillar and the later-stage butterfly: the promise of more, the development and potential for increased growth and beauty and depth. But what about the change it triggers in the here and now? A transformation, by definition, means that the future will be different. That my experience of the future will be different. The here-and-now may not be completely eradicated, but it will not exist exactly as it now does. Which means change. Which means that while there will be something added, something also must be lost.
So then, “a good God, whose very presence demands [change and loss in exchange for something better]”? I have to admit, there are times when the “something even better” doesn’t seem worth the change and the loss. Or, perhaps, it’s that my vision of better is too small, and my own fear of change and loss is too great.
As we respond to the call of God, as we lean into deeper relationship with Him through prayer, seeking His heart – as we behold “the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). This is our hope – that we are being transformed. Yes, it comes at a cost. It costs us our old patterns, it costs us the ease of just doing things the way we’ve always done them. It will even cost us our worldview as it now exists – because that’s what happens when a caterpillar is transformed and becomes a butterfly. It’s perspective on the world changes from a flat, two-dimensional reality to a perspective it could never before have imagined.
If that’s what happens when a caterpillar is transformed, I wonder what God has in store for us??