Lessons from the Butterfly

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
 
 
 
” . . . I noticed a chrysalis collection in a case on the wall. Though all different in size and shape, they shared one thing: Each was a tomb of transformation, a womb of waiting where the caterpillar must die, in a sense, in order to be born a butterfly.”
(Lynn Morrissey,  Love Letters to God:
Deeper Intimacy Through Written Prayer)
 
 
 
Last Friday, I tried to capture the glory of the Blue Morpho butterflies swarming around the tropical setting of the Butterfly House. They were just too swift for me to snap a picture of them in flight. I had to be content with experiencing their beauty standing still in the moment. 
 
The beauty of a butterfly is fleeting. Did you know the Blue Morpho butterfly only lives for three weeks after it breaks out of its chrysalis? Some may think this is a gross waste of such beauty, yet God in His wisdom and grace grants us this brief glimpse of His glory.
 
Here’s another fascinating fact about butterflies: The delicate butterfly inherits the honor of laying the eggs to reproduce this species, not the caterpillar. 
 
What a picture of spiritual growth! What would happen if we didn’t progress past the egg, the caterpillar and the chrysalis stages? Our spiritual growth would not only be stunted, it would be aborted. To become the most beautiful reflection of the glorious One, one must die to self.
 
It is imperative to mature into a spiritual butterfly, or we will not multiply. We will not see others birthed into the kingdom of God.

 

10 thoughts on “Lessons from the Butterfly

  1. Ah, Kel, my own words come back either to haunt me or to give me hope. I penned those words in my book, Love Letters to God, on prayer-journaling, describing a most difficult physical trial in my life, when I literally didn't know if I would ever walk without significant pain again, following very difficult complications after foot surgery. After receiving several expert medical opinions, I was given no hope. But God in His utter mercy gave me *His* hope from Hos. 6 (which I read often during that time), that though He had "torn me," He would "heal me," that though He had "injured me," He would "bind up my wounds." Like a caterpillar awaiting transformation, God had put me in *His* waiting room–a tomb of trial that would become a womb of transformation. My one hope and desire during that horrendous time was to press on to know and to acknowledge Him–to draw close to Him through His Word and in my journal. It's so ironic that you should choose that particular quote of mine (and it is certainly an interesting experience to see oneself quoted! :), but it's significant, because someone just asked me why I have landed in another tomb of tarrying (my words, but the gist). I'm undergoing yet another significant physical trial of testing. It's a scary place to be. And yet, it's my prayer that this will become a tomb of transformation and testimony to God's resurrection power and glory. One thing I learned during that last trial (back in 2000), which I told my friend the other day, is that it gave me even the tiniest glimpse into Jesus' physical suffering on the Cross. We talk about the Cross, we sing about the Cross, we raise arms in gratitude about the Cross, but (speaking for myself), I'm not sure how often we *feel* the Cross. Surely, any of our fleeting physical suffering pales by comparison to the shere agony which Christ suffered for us, but even our momentary affliction can give us some small glimpse and help us better to appreciate all that He really did endure when He was nailed to that wretched tree to set us free! Here's what I said in Love Letters, "Oh yes, God had entered my suffering, but much more significantly, for the first time, I had entered His. My foot was piereced like His. 'But, my Lord,' I confessed, completely humbled, 'it was a scratch, a paper-cut, a surface-wound compared to the torture You endured.' Even a slight sip from His cup of physical suffering had made me profoundly aware and deeply grateful that He had swallowed the bitter brew for me and my sins.

  2. Continued…Though I had always thanked Jesus for His agonzing death on the Cross, now I personally identified with it. I would never forget what it had cost Him. I told Him so in a prayer in my journal–I was like the bird singing a praise song in darkness." I go on to say….."And I wanted to share that song with those whom God loves. My wheelchair perspective [I was still not walking at that time] prompted me to offter kindred-spirit kindness to people I met who were broken in body, broken in heart. I had identified with Christ's suffering, and now I could finally identify with theirs." And, this, too, is a part of what you are talking about. Suffering and fear can be God's catalysts to help us to die to self and to our selfishness. We begin to identify with others' suffering with greater depth and compassion. Those who are kindest to me now, in my own trial, are those who have known their own share of suffering and so they comfort me with the comfort with which Christ has comforted them. They are definitely butterflies flitting through this fleeting life, making use of every opportunity to spread the sweet fragrance of Christ and His glory. I have been brushed by their wings of wonder and grace, and consequently, by His. You are so right. There are so many lessons to be learned from the butterfly. You said this to me in an email yesterday with regards to this trial: "I keep thinking of your butterfly blessings chapter and ask God to send you another season of butterfly blessings as you wait upon The Lord." Kel, please know that this unexpected post and this reminder to wait upon the Lord and to allow Him to use the waiting to woo me to trust and to mature is indeed a beautiful and unexpected butterfly blessing! I cannot thank you enough, Kel. You've given me hope this day. I, too, have often thought about the amazingly short life span of the butterfly. It is a wake-up call not to waste life, but to live on purpose, reflecting His glory at every opportunity. Butterflies' transparent "scales" reflect light, which make all their dazzling colors. May we constantly reflect *His* light as you have done with your post (and with every post!) with grace, hope, beauty, and wonder, and as we approach Easter, may we always be reminded that tombs are but precusors of resurrection. I love and thank you!!Lynni

  3. Lynni- I love how God boosts our hope through each other's words and stories. Thank you for sharing these highlights from the Butterfly Blessings chapter…I wanted to share so many things from that chapter and you picked up on the one's related to the Cross and Jesus' passion…perfect reflections for this season. I am praying for you and look forward to more stories of His Butterfly Blessings as you wait during this trial. Love and hugs-Kel

  4. Kel, you are so gracious to allow me "air time" here on your blog! Wow! I had no idea all that would pour out of me, as my poor husband waited to use the computer. He finally gave up, and went to work! 😉 I didn't know I would write all that and didn't mean to occupy so much room–so much so that your blog bumped me out, and I had to post a continuation. Oh my! But God really used you (and even *my* own words…..I'm re-reading that chapter today after many years since its publication), and He's giving me hope. Truly, I am praying for butterfly blessings, and as I said, I'm grateful for the first one I have received in a while THROUGH YOU! Also, this reminds me that there is/was a neat butterfly documentary at the Science Museum. I am hoping it is still there, and will check it out! Thank you again for your patience over my post and for this loving confirmation and esp. your prayers!LoveLynni

  5. I recall those beautiful and profound words from Lynn's book. It's good to read them again. It's like being reminded of who I am in Christ and that while there is struggle in this world, when we belong to God it's all temporary and Him in us is what matters most. Awesome post and reminder.

  6. Kel… We have a similar place here to see the butterflies… and the blue ones are my most favorite! Love all your analogies here too… Lynn… amazing how we have had so many similar situations. I thought that when i read your book, about your foot and being in a wheelchair (similar to my being in a wheelchair with broken leg for so long, and taking two years to be able to walk right again…. But God is faithful to His promises One of my favorites right now is Ps 103 (talking to our bodies and souls and enjoining ourselves) Bless the Lord, o my soul and forget not his benefits. He forgives ALL our sins, heals ALL our diseases… and renews our youth like the eagle's! Halleluia!

  7. Wow, Pam, I had NO idea that you had been through that. I pray you are walking ok now. I realize that in my book I never told the rest of the story abuot my foot, but ultimately that was not the point of that story…..finding joy in the Lord through trials was. But it's so beautiful when He brings you through to the other side. It sounds as if that is just what He did w/ you. And yes, I've been reading/praying over Ps. 103 too. Thank you for the confimration!

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