Every title has some sort of background behind it; a story to tell. Being a writer, this is something very close to my heart...after all, I live for telling the story that the title begins! Lately, I feel as if I've been able to better execute the story so that it is told in an interesting manner, such as with bigger words and a more personable attitude.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Hebrews. Hebrews and Romans are just so...AH! :D The first two verses of Hebrews say "Therefore we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith." That first verse always makes me think of a caterpillar in a cocoon. That cocoon is a cage, keeping the caterpillar from being free. But after a while, it sheds the hard case and a beautiful butterfly comes out!
I have always been fascinated by caterpillars and butterflies. In Uganda, there were these spikey-antlered fuzzpillars that I likened to reindeer. During my quiet time one morning, there were dozens of these reindeer caterpillars crawling up the tree I was under. They would crawl up the tree to reach the limbs, but often fell down. They'd lay there on the ground, stunned, for a while, but after ten minutes or so, they would right themselves and go back to trying to get up that tree! This happened fifteen or twenty times! As I sat there, I thought about verse two, and how these caterpillars beat me in perseverance. How many times do we give up after the third or fourth fall? We don't allow ourselves to fall twenty times...it hurts too much!
As they continued to fall and fail to reach their destination, I was so tempted to pick them up and try to put them on the closest limb, or at least start them off closer to their final destination. But I didn't. It made me wonder, though, how often God wants to just scoop us up in his hands (his hands are big enough for that you know) and set us down, safe and sound, where we need to be. But he doesn't. James 1 says that perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Let me repeat that...not lacking anything. Our goal in life is to live like Jesus, to be perfect...that means lacking nothing. So...we have to persevere. Ouch.
As I continued reading Hebrews 12 in that quiet time, I was struck by verses 7 and 11. "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Read that again. I'll wait...
We are God's children. He loves us. And a father disciplines those he loves. These disciplines are often trials and tribulations. And James 1:2 tells us to view such disciplines with joy because then we will reap a harvest of spiritual and physical blessings and a whole lot of peace! :D I like peace, don't you?
During my quiet time, I realized that animals have such a drive to complete their calling. They do what God has commanded them to do, no questions asked. We very rarely see animals conforming to the way of this world. You don't go to the store and seeing a cat going grocery shopping! That's just not normal! But we humans...oh we humans are messed up! We go against what God asks us to do day in and day out, even when we don't realize it. But we were different...we're special...we have a chooser inside of us that helps us determine right or wrong. God loves us and he didn't want us to be his robots or his puppets, but to be free. But with freedom comes trials. Animals seemingly have easy lives. But don't be discouraged. No! We have a greater calling than animals, which thus calls for greater trials: we were called to CHANGE THE WORLD!
This is my prayer, and I encourage you to adopt a similar attitude: Lord Jesus, catch me when I fall so I don't hit the ground so hard I can't get back up. But don't pick me up and put me where I need to be, but rather give me the strength to get there.
I want to soar high on wings...butterfly wings. I want to become a butterfly, bold and beautiful. A butterfly travels and specified path that it doesn't even understand, a path that is programmed into their minds. It knows it's the way to life, even though it may die on the way. It has struggles along the way, but the butterfly doesn't stray from the path because if it does, it will surely die. I want to be a butterfly and follow God's path for my life with unwavering persistence and without questions.
I am becoming a butterfly.