Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Butterfly Promises

Butterfly who endured and emerged.
It was near the end of a long and extremely cold winter that I found this capsule of hope – a butterfly chrysalis. We enjoy having butterflies in our north Alabama back yard. I entice them with parsley, dill, buddleia (butterfly bush), pickerel reed, salvia, and all things blooming. In return, they entertain us with their beauty as they flit and flutter around digging in to all the bloomers. At times we are most handsomely rewarded with one alighting on us, but usually just admire them from a respectful distance. Their incredibly lovely wings are unimaginably delicate, yet are still used as their traveling shoes – arms - wings.  

Their favorite meals include the afore mentioned dill. I also like dill, and was a bit annoyed to find the little black spots on “my” plants. Then when I saw them a few day later and they were moving, I jumped into action.  In all honesty, I didn’t jump but, I did investigate.  When the findings were in, and I saw that the specks would end up a butterflies, I jumped for joy! Actually, I didn’t jump, but I did change my course of action. Instead of exterminating, I chose facilitating.  I planted more dill and their second favorite, parsley.  They flourished and we had cheap entertainment all summer!

  1. Chrysalis enduring the winter.
Their life cycle involves the eggs being laid on some delicious foliage, then as they hatch they devour the delicious foliage and grow into the most lovely, fat, green, segmented, worms. Well, actually, larvae. They eat and grow to their little heart’s delight until the appointed day arrives. The day of rest. All their preparatory eating would enable them to endure this next part. The rest. Miraculously (it has to be a God thing) they know to crawl up and attach themselves to something sturdy, and form into this chrysalis. 

This period of rest and transformation varies with species and season. This particular chrysalis was found after months of harsh, record-breaking cold. There had been no butterfly sightings in months, and the outer part of the pod looked suspiciously dark. I commented to my husband that it either didn’t survive the winter or was about to hatch. 

With the possibility in mind that it might hatch at any time, I kept a close vigil. At least once a day I checked on the little guy, hopeful. I was rewarded with the sight of a freshly hatched beauty! It was at night, and he was just barely out of the shell and into this new phase of his life. Eager to document the arrival, I took several pictures hoping the flash didn’t startle him. He didn’t seem to mind. I marveled that such a small creature could survive the winter that we all grumbled about while huddling around our heaters. We had food and shelter and griped about it while he silently sat outside, alone for months, trusting that God knew what He was doing. It would be OK. Just wait.

Winter comes every year, but life is somewhat unpredictable. We know to plan for the cold, but how do we plan for life? What do we do when it seems we are abandoned in the turmoil? Here are some great promises onto which believers in Christ can hold!

  • Count it all joy. God reminds us that our various trials are for our good. He is always there with us, and will only allow what is good for us. Note that I didn’t say what we like but, what is for our good. (James 1- read verse 2 ) 

  • Tests of our faith produces endurance. If we are to finish the race (life) set before us, we need perseverance. In order to learn how to persevere we have to practice it and, build it up like a muscle to make it strong.

  • When we don’t know what to do, ask God. Knowledge can be found everywhere. Everywhere there are opinions, surveys, and theories about how you can do or resolve one thing or another. The only source for true wisdom however, is from God. (James 1 read verse 5) He is our first and best resource. (If an opinion disagrees with His word, that is a faulty opinion.) Note: Listen to the voice of experience - griping doesn’t help.

  • Blessings await those who persevere under trials. (Hint – it is worn on your head). Even though the winter was long and hard, spring came. (James 1 read verse 12)

  • Life is but a vapor and you will leave your shell. Use this time to grow into something far more beautiful than you were. When we accept Christ, we walk in newness of life, leaving behind our “old flesh.” (Romans 6 read verse 4) This new walk will be with incredibly beautiful wings – Christ living in us!

Father, how precious are Your promises! We struggle with many hardships during our time on Earth. Thank You for holding us through these trials and reminding us we are not alone. Thank You for hearing our prayers and equipping us to endure life. Thank you for demonstrating to us through this butterfly that the trial isn’t the end of the story. Help us to share these wonderful truths as we walk today.  

Precious reader, I know life is full of challenges. 
I encourage you today to hold on, and hold on to Him. 
The promises listed above are found in James 1, and Romans 6. 
Study and hold on to them to give you strength for the process.  
If God has held you through a hard time, 
will you share here how He helped you through?

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