The Toad that Changes Colors
In Africa there are toads that come in different colors and that can also change colors. Sometimes they are yellow and black, sometimes deep reddish-brown or mottled brown. At times they are a light-brown color. These changes indicate how wet their skin is or how upset they are. The skin color of these toads changes in much the same way that our skin color changes when we blush.
Just before they molt, the toads take on a grayish-brown color caused by dust sticking to the old skin. At this time they remain dull because their brighter colors are hidden under all the dust and old skin.
When molting time comes, the toads merely take deep breaths and puff up like balloons. Then their old skins split open and each toad climbs out clad in a new, beautiful coat of sensitive skin that can do all the color-changing again.
In addition to their abilities to change color, these toads sing in an interesting way. They utter a rhythmic series of "quir-rrr-rrr-whirr" sounds one toad will start singing during a period of silence, and then one by one others will join in - all in perfect rhythm - until the whole countryside is filled with the mechanical throbbing of their voices. Then all at once they stop, making the contrast of sudden total silence startling and difficult for visiting foreigners to get used to.
There are a number of animals that can change colors, but these toads are interesting in that when they get all dusty and crusty they aren't able to change anymore. Their coats are no longer delicate or pretty, and until they are rid of the old skin they are very ordinary looking.
The molting of the toads reminds us of the picture the apostle Paul draws for us in our text. It's in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." By the working of the Holy Spirit the born-again person throws aside the old, ugly self, as it were, and emerges as a new person, prepared to show the beauty of Jesus.