It was starting to drizzle outside on a dark April day. The heavy clouds could no longer contain their burden and they began to weep.
My husband had just begun his jail sentence that day and my tears mingled with the raindrops on my face. I looked to the sky and saw nothing but dense gray clouds. Their weight pressed down on me and magnified the sorrow.
- I wondered if my husband would return a changed man.
- I wondered if he really loved me or not.
- I wondered if I had really forgiven him or not.
- I wondered if I could ever trust him again.
- I wondered if the heartache would ever heal.
- I wondered where God was when I felt so alone.
I sat on the porch to get out of the rain. My eye caught something fluttering on a bush nearby. I wiped my tears and tried to focus.
Something moved again. It looked like a leaf was alive. I leaned closer and realized it was not a leaf, but a cocoon. It was just starting to crack open.
I was mesmerized by the shuddering that soon began. I caught a glimpse of color, then the edge of a slimy and delicate wing.
I was tempted to pull back the rest of the covering but I knew better than to mess with nature. Untold minutes had passed as I witnessed the butterfly struggle, then rest, only to struggle again.
It finally emerged and though it was cloudy, the vibrant wings shimmered, as if in glorious triumph.
I held my breath, waiting for this creature to flutter away, but it was shaky and weak. Its triumph seemed lost now in its limp and vulnerable condition.
It was obviously exhausted. I was unnerved by its fragile state, wondering how long it would endure.
I lost all sense of time and was only reminded of it by the butterfly’s sudden attempt to move again. It was flimsy at first, but certainly not cowardly. It seemed to grow stronger with each movement.
That’s when it dawned on me. It had stopped raining. The sun was shining.
The butterfly’s wings were no longer weighed down with slime but were dry and erect.
It began to flap its wings awkwardly, but they worked! The wings were flexing stronger each time and soon it left the chrysalis. It fell to the ground softly and began to crawl about.
But not for long. The wings beat stronger and faster and the insect soon took flight. It didn’t go far the first time, only a few feet away from me.
In a more graceful pattern this time, it flew again.
It stopped for a short time, only to continue this dance a few more times before flying away and out of sight.
I suddenly grasped the reality of God’s presence.
Like the caterpillar that spins the cocoon, I felt ugly, forgotten, and trapped in a prison.
But the creature that left the cocoon was no longer bound to the ground. By a miracle, it was more beautiful and unrestricted now than when it entered its shell.
Though many of my questions remained unanswered, I knew God shared that butterfly’s labor with me for a reason.
Had I helped that butterfly escape, it would have died. Butterflies must pump their wings to get all their bug juices flowing, or their wings will never function properly. They will be grounded, exposed as a colorful target, attracting enemies they are defenseless against.
That butterfly was forced by God’s design to struggle in order to thrive. But it was not the same sluggish creature after emerging the cocoon as when it had entered in.
God’s children will be tried as well. They must pump their faith muscles or flop. Faith will not grow without being exercised.
Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Though the clouds had blocked the sun for a while, it was still a fiery orb fixed in its position.
The rain refreshed and nourished the thirsty ground and in due time, the sunshine returned. There was hope for new life that would not have been possible without the storm.
Just as the sun is always burning above the clouds, God is always working in the midst of us, whether we perceive it or not.
Deep inside the core of our soul, He is transforming us into something different. Something that will ultimately result in splendor and liberty.
Sometimes the storms seem impossible to endure; the limitations intolerable. But they are part of God’s design to help us thrive and live victoriously.
May we all have the faith of the butterfly.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
1 Peter 1:6-8