My favourite story of God’s deliverance is Moses crossing the red sea.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18, NASB) Whenever I see butterflies, God reminds me of the beautiful freedom He blesses us with. We may go through seasons where we feel like a caterpillar crawling slowly like a worm, or cocooned up and nothing seems to be achieved. Yet, these are seasons that the Lord is working deeply inside of us to transform us into His image to become like Him. The butterfly reminds me to see myself the way God sees me as my future self: From redemption to sanctification into God’s glorious presence. Christ in us our hope of glory (Col 1:27).
Our current challenges are a phase of life that will pass. It is necessary to complete this phase in order to move on to the next. Sometimes, this phase of life may seem “cocooned” – as though nothing is happening. Yet, a deep internal transformation is taking place. In due time, a beautiful butterfly will emerge, flying freely, pollinating and bring about fruit to others. You can become a blessing to others too, in due season. Do not give up on hope. Christ in us, the hope of glory.
“In view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
When Jesus spoke of this to the thief, he is referring to the same promise God gave to Abraham (Genesis 22:17-18) Not the kind of paradise that is found on earth but is found in heaven. His Words are hope for all of us sinners. Showing how merciful our God is in this specific event in the Bible is a reminder that despite our grievous sins, we only need to have a repentant heart to receive hope (believe the words of Jesus) and the promise of salvation. The good thief believed so he immediately received his reward. This is a picture of encouragement to all of us, a promise of Paradise.