The Call of the Butterfly

By Denise Vredevoogd—

I recently visited the annual spring butterfly exhibit at our local botanical garden. Warm, moist tropical air soothed my winter weary soul as I watched the delicate creatures flit from orchid to palm leaf. Their graceful, effortless movement reminded me of a parable I heard years ago. Here is my revised and abbreviated version.

There once was a young boy who came upon a butterfly struggling to break free of its chrysalis. As the butterfly squirmed and wriggled, the boy was filled with compassion and ever so gently began to widen the opening of the chrysalis, making it easier for the fragile creature to make its way into the world. Releasing the damp-winged beauty into the palm of his hand, he waited for it to spread its wings and fly. But soon the writhing ceased and the butterfly became still.

How can this be? The young boy wondered. Saddened by the result of his effort to help, he showed the lifeless butterfly to his father. His father wisely explained that the process of straining to leave the chrysalis strengthened the butterfly’s tiny muscles and pushed the necessary fluid into its wings so that he could lift himself into the air. Without the struggle, the butterfly could not do what he was created to do.

I thought about this story as I looked at the exhibit’s showcase, where a variety of chrysalises had been pinned in long rows, each one a miracle waiting for the moment of release. Cozy and snug, secure and safe, they could stay in their tiny self-made homes or they could follow nature’s call, gradually building up their strength by squirming and stretching and spreading their wings to freedom.

There is something about spring, about dry bulbs sprouting tender shoots, about lime green leaves unfolding on trees, about blue speckled eggs cracking open in their nests, about a chrysalis splitting open. That something teaches us about resurrection, about being made new and changing from one form into another.

Our old natures tend to avoid change, to resist risk. The status quo calls louder than “let go.” Becoming who God created us to be is a struggle. To be more loving, we might have to deal with unlovable people. To become wise, we might be given problems to solve. To learn patience, we may have to wait for answers. To develop courage, we have to face our fears. To fly into the freedom Christ’s resurrection promises, we have to beat our wings against the comfort zone of our own chrysalis. There is no shortcut and no one can do it for us, or we will wither like the butterfly in the young boy’s palm.

But we don’t have to do it alone. The same power which raised Jesus from the dead flows through our spiritual wings. “With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence…Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:13-16).

As you witness nature’s renewal all around you this spring, think about the metamorphosis that God wants to bring about in your own life. “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)

 

 

 

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DeniseDenise Vredevoogd is grateful for her life as a wife and the mother of two daughters, two sons, and a daughter-in-law. A former English teacher, she now enjoys freelance editing, tutoring, and reading with second graders. She’s also devoted to dozens of students, ages 5-65, with whom she shares the love of music in her private piano studio. Accompanying, reading, writing, gardening, flower-arranging, and spending time with family and friends are all gifts from the hand of Father God, “from whom all blessings flow.” She is a co-leader for West Michigan Word Weavers and on the planning committee for the annual Breathe writers’ conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Her blog, www.fearnot365.wordpress.com, provides a glimpse into the many verses in the Bible that encourage us to live life with confident trust.

2 Comments

  1. 4-15-2015

    Denise, what a rich and beautiful post. You paint pictures of His truths with Your words.

  2. 4-15-2015

    How timely Denise…I visited the butterfly gardens today…lovely words you wrapped around that experience.

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