I was scrolling social media one day recently and saw the above photo. After reading its words, all I could say to myself was, “Whew, chile!” That will preach an entire sermon, won’t it?!
Let’s just be real here: There is nothing pretty or easy about process. Honestly, process can sometimes look and feel like punishment. It can be downright hard!
It makes me think about the butterfly, which happens to be the only insect I love. Its metamorphosis is so beautifully symbolic to life. But before the butterfly becomes the beautiful bug we see flying around, it goes through a process — a process that is dark and lonely.
It starts off as an egg, laid by a female butterfly, and makes its home on a leaf or plant stem. While inside the egg, a caterpillar forms. A few weeks pass and the caterpillar eats its way out of the egg and begins its life in the outside world as a bug crawling on the ground. During this stage, it grows and sheds skin about four or five times. Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it forms itself into a chrysalis, where the final steps of the process happen. While in the chrysalis, usually found around hidden areas of a plant, a hardened case forms around it. Now, although the hardened case is there to protect it from predators and weather conditions, can you imagine how dark and isolated the butterfly must feel (If it had feelings.)? In the chrysalis, the tissue, limbs, and organs of the caterpillar transform over the course of a few weeks to months, and then a beautiful butterfly emerges.
What a process, right?!
How many of us would still opt in to transforming into a butterfly if we were fully aware of the process? We’d probably just say, Forget it! If I have to go through all of that to become what I’m supposed to be, I’m good where I am.
That’s exactly the mindset many of us have as we are going through our own processes. What we sometimes fail to understand is that between where you are and what God has promised you, there is process. We often become so excited about the promise that we forget there is a path we must take in order to get there. So when that path becomes rocky, and dark, and confusing, and lonely, and hard to follow, we start to feel like maybe we missed God or we’re doing something wrong.
Process often comes in the form of challenges. Those challenges are what is necessary to develop and ultimately transform your heart, mind, and spirit to ready you for receiving the promise.
In 2009, the Lord promised me that my husband and I would conceive and birth a daughter, but in 2011 when I became pregnant and gave birth to another son, I was confused. Then, in 2012 when I miscarried the baby I just knew would finally be our daughter, I was broken and thought the promise was not worth the pain and would never come to pass.
I vowed to never conceive again. I was letting the process punk me out of the promise. Somewhere along the way, however, my faith reignited and I chose to trust in the One who is faithful.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)
In 2014, right before Christmas and exactly 15 months to the date I miscarried, our promised daughter was born.
Process isn’t always what it feels like. It’s actually just preparation for the promise. Don’t let whatever process you are facing punk you out of trusting God to fulfill His word in your life. The enemy would love nothing more than to make you believe that what God is allowing to develop you is destroying you. It’s a complete lie. Yes, process is hard, but God’s grace is your sustenance.
“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)
Let patience have its perfect work. Endure, sis. The process is not in vain. The promise will manifest.