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Session 1

What to do when darkness comes

Read: James 1:1-18

Need proof that God can bring something good from enduring, abiding, and pressing forward through challenges? Look no further than the butterfly.

The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is a long, dark, painful process. The caterpillar spins its cocoon then dissolves into a gooey mess in the protective shell of its chrysalis so its cells can be reconfigured.

The caterpillar must die to its old self, so previously dormant DNA can be activated. Then the butterfly — a whole new creation — grows strong in its struggle to spring forth into new life. The transformation caterpillars go through physically is a lot like what happens to us spiritually. Jesus takes our spiritual, gooey mess and transforms us into a new creation.  

The difference between us and the caterpillar is that while the caterpillar transforms once, we are transformed over and over, day after day as we follow Jesus.

When problems come or the unexpected happens, the true nature of our hearts is exposed. Our flaws and sins are laid bare, whether we struggle with pride, envy, gossip, or maybe even a lack of faith. We're humbled by the experience, and we recognize once again how much we need Jesus.

As we allow the "cocoon" of God’s presence and His Word shape and mold us, we’ll find that we emerge from our troubles stronger and more confident in His goodness than we ever thought possible.

That’s why James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy... whenever you face trials of many kinds, because...the testing of your faith produces perseverance." As dark and scary as it might feel during this time of trial, testing, and transformation, it's also an opportunity to discover our strengths and gifts, and to persevere.

Reflect:

  • Are you experiencing trials of your own right now?
  • What is Jesus teaching you about yourself?
  • How has this season brought you closer to Jesus?  

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