They are a group of invertebrates that includes insects, arachnids (spiders), and crustaceans (crabs, crayfish, lobsters). And they are magnificent and powerful “living machines.” Their ‘armored’ exoskeletons and ability to carry many times their own weight make them all but invincible.
Yet, in order to live and grow these ‘masters of the earth’ must endure a terribly humiliating process. Its scientific term is called ecdysis. We know it better as “molting.” It’s the process by which the creature must shed its old exoskeleton and secrete a new one.
The Flip Side of Molting
Unfortunately, when it molts an arthropod is completely incapacitated. It is capable of doing nothing else—walking, hunting, crawling, feeding. Molting completely sidelines the creature and leaves it utterly vulnerable to being devoured by predators or destroyed by dehydration. It’s the most shameful period an arthropod’s life. During this period it seems to serve no useful purpose except to take up space and look painfully ugly.
Yet, for arthropods, molting is a time of stupendous growth. Not only does molting allow arthropods to grow bigger. This process regenerates damaged tissue and re-grows lost limbs. For many arthropods, like grubs and caterpillars, molting is a time of total transformation in which they emerge a new and glorious creation. Regardless of how humiliating and incapacitating molting may be, the growth it produces makes it worth every bit of the pain.
Our Own “Molting”
Do people ever go through a “molting process?” Do we ever feel so hurt and ugly that we want nothing more than be out of sight and out of mind? Do we ever feel incapacitated, useless, and worthless—as if we fill no purpose but to take up space? Do we ever feel scared and terribly vulnerable? We most certainly do.
Maybe it’s because we’ve failed, been rejected, or wounded very deeply. Maybe we’re withdrawing from the world out of grief and sorrow. But we must never lose hope.
This painful period is the gateway to glorious renewal, growth, and transformation. God will cause you to emerge stronger and better than before.
Jesus Christ emerged from His wilderness temptations, not degraded, but in the power of the Spirit of God (Luke 4:14). The Scripture tells us that we will rise from our tribulations with Christ-like virtues (Rom. 5:3–5; James 1:2–3; Heb. 12:11; 1 Peter 1:7).
Though difficult to bear, this painful process is essential to your spiritual life and eternal destiny. Allow yourself time to get through it. Trust God to bring you out of it. The growth and transformation that God produces through it will make the “molting process” worth every bit of the pain (Rom. 8:18).
Dear Father in heaven, please heal my hurting soul. I entrust the battered bits of my life to Your skilled and loving hands. Please perfect the good work you have begun in me and make me into the person of Your dreams. Amen.
In article photos in order of appearance: Dirty job by the U.S. Army licensed under CC BY 2.0