Today’s thought is shared by someone who wishes to remain anonymous…
“. . . Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. . . . And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 1:17)
Recently I had an ugly wart frozen off by the dermatologist. Caving to what may have been vanity, I wanted it off because it was ugly and even annoying, as I tended to scratch at it all the time.
The freezing method hurls its own strikes against a person’s ego, though. First, you develop an appalling blister. Then, the blister morphs into a heinous scab that is tethered to your very bones—or so it feels. Which is why, at this stage of healing, I’m just wishing I had stayed with my original wart. Soon enough, however, this yuck will smooth over, and my wart will be gone. Gone, but not forgotten, because I know to expect a small, permanent scar in its wake.
Spiritual transformation—healing, growth, and change—is also a process. And, frankly, that process can sometimes be as ugly and off-putting as my wart-soon-to-become-scar.
The prophet Jonah comes to mind when I think of people in the Bible whose transformation wasn’t exactly pretty. From outright refusal to reluctant obedience, Jonah wasn’t a pleasant sight. In fact, I often wonder about all the gag reflexes he must have triggered as he perambulated into Ninevah reeking of ambergris, with his skin peeling off after marinating in stomach acid for three days.
To their tremendous credit, the people of Ninevah plugged their noses and overlooked the ugliness of Jonah. Embracing the message of repentance he preached, their whole city was saved that day!
My prayer is that God will bless those in my life who don’t bolt for the door when my own transformation process stinks, and I also pray that God will help me to see beyond the rough edges of other Christians who being shaped into the image of Christ.
Dear Lord, please remind us all that sometimes healing and change can be ugly. Help us to hold each other up as we are all transformed into the image of Christ. Amen