In a friendly West Texas town just south of the Red River, a newly constructed 12-foot cross towered behind me in a basketball arena on the university campus. The look on Destiny’s face as she approached me tearfully and expectantly told a story I wanted to read and help interpret.

Her beautiful, brown eyes sparkled like the morning dew with numerous tears laced between her carefully manicured, long, black eyelashes. I knew in an instant, as she and her friend Diane lingered before me, that she wanted to—no, she needed to unpack the story behind those tears that caused lines of mascara to run down her soft, brown cheeks.

Destiny was just one of hundreds of students who came to the cross that morning. Each student was on a mission, a pilgrimage, to find forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation or a relationship with the Man who had died on a cross 2000 years before. In the arena, they had witnessed the grueling drama of the construction of the cross through the eyes of the Roman woodcutter who built it. Then, in an onstage role change, the audience experienced a taste of the passion of Jesus and His graceful, beckoning call for adoption to any willing heart that would come in faith and believe.

I asked Destiny, as I had asked countless students before in 35 years of portraying that drama on campuses across the nation, to tell me her story. Without as much as a blink of her eyes, her steady gaze guided her words of a lifetime of abuse and abandonment. She described the seven-year-old girl inside her who was first assaulted by an adult family member. Then, she spoke of the long, dark road of sex trafficking she was forced to travel as a young teen. Her friend Diane stood shoulder to shoulder beside her, and though she was unwilling to tell her own story, she expressed similar feelings of heartbreaking sorrow.

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man [or woman] is in Christ, he [or she] is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
I shared with her my favorite verse from the greatest love letter ever written by the greatest Lover who ever lived. With words of kind, reassuring empathy, I gently quoted 2 Corinthians 5:17. There, in the middle of that arena filled with hundreds of students passing to and from the cross, I gently embraced Diane and Destiny as an old grandpa would embrace his granddaughters on a Christmas morning.

I shared with Destiny the biblical miracle of metamorphosis that makes the preceding verse come alive. She drank the meaning of it deeply into her soul as a runner would drink a cold glass of water after a marathon on a hot July day. I explained the divine wonder of the process whereby a caterpillar fashions for itself a coffin to die in, a chrysalis in which it will completely deteriorate, even to the extent of the DNA of each cell decomposing to the basic amino acids from which it was made.

“I saw a new Destiny emerge as I told how the beautiful, dainty butterfly will crawl out of that coffin as a new creature that doesn’t reflect the caterpillar from which it came in any miniscule manner.”
Destiny tracked with every word. I could see her soul sprouting wings as I explained how a dream lies inside that cocoon, a dream that reassembles the genetic dust into a brand new creation—literally a completely new species, an inexplicable scientific wonder. I saw a new Destiny emerge as I told how the beautiful, dainty butterfly will crawl out of that coffin as a new creature that doesn’t reflect the caterpillar from which it came in any miniscule manner.

It was as miraculous as picturing Jesus walking on water as He recreated Destiny before my eyes. The Holy Spirit performed her metamorphosis. The lovely hands of Jesus cradled her once-shredded heart and became her “chrysalis” as her old life died and the blood of Jesus transformed the caterpillar into the pristine wings of the butterfly who was ready to soar into a new life in Christ.

Destiny realized it! She beheld her personal transformation. She experienced the metamorphosis of her soul offered to every sincere believer who makes his or her pilgrimage to the cross, where the death of Christ gives the life of Christ to every willing heart.

Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of Destinys, young and old, male and female, experience the transformative life of Jesus in countries around the world. Although every story is different, the truth of the transforming power of Christ is the same.

As Destiny walked away that morning in West Texas, I called her name and asked, “Destiny, what are you?”

Her contagious smile built a bridge across her face, and her moistened eyes nearly danced with hope. “A butterfly,” she whispered. “I’m a butterfly.”

“I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

Perhaps someone in your family has a heart like Destiny’s that needs to be recreated by grace today. Maybe you, too, need the hope that comes from knowing God can make all things new, no matter what lies in your past.

If any kind of painful past has left you feeling trapped and unlovable, let me encourage you to put your heart in His hands as Destiny did. You can become a butterfly today, a beautiful testimony to God’s transforming power.

We’re wrapping up another amazing summer here at Kanakuk, and our staff has had the privilege of introducing so many of your children to the love of the Father and His Son. I can’t think of a better ending then for many family members to grow their own wings of faith in response to His irresistible love.

Written by Joe White
Joe has been awarded two honorary Doctoral degrees and has written more than 20 books for teenagers and parents alike. Dr. James Dobson says "Joe White knows more about teenagers than anyone in North America." Joe and his wife, Debbie-Jo, reside in Branson, MO where they oversee Kanakuk Ministries.

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