How many of you have been to a butterfly conservatory? I visited the one in Niagara Falls last autumn and was amazed at what I saw. Vast species of dazzelingly beautiful butterflies buzzed around my head and landed upon my hands. Some of them were as large as a bird, with radiant colors and designs that would have completely humbled even Michael Angelo.
There was a window along the path that revealed a hatchery, displaying many different kinds of little cocoons, just waiting to hatch. Many of us watched patiently as some of the cocoons began to flutter, hoping to catch a glimpse at the emerging butterfly within.
The most incredible butterflies start out their lives as some of the ugliest caterpillars you've ever seen; cruising through life eating and molting, and making allot of farmers really angry. But then, at the appointed time, it enters a Death-like state within its cocoon and just waits.
Does it know what is going to take place? I think not, for it acts on the instinct God designed.
You know, in the grand scheme of God's plan, we too share similarities with the butterfly. Paul compared those who are Christ's to harvest seeds in 1 Corinthians 15: 35-38. Lets read it! In so many places of scripture, when one of the saved in Christ die, the word used is SLEEP, which is very much like the metemorphical state of the butterfly. It essentially dies as a caterpillar, then is reborn as a magnificent butterfly.
Lets read 1Corinthians 15: 49-54 I know many of you wonder how a God of love and peace could allow the painful suffering that we often must endure, but contemplate this story that I heard from a good friend of mine...
Their was a boy who found a butterfly's cocoon. He set it on his windowsill and watched patiently for weeks on end to see the butterfly emerge, then, one day, it happened. The cocoon began fluttering and a small split developed in the upper portion. The butterfly began its struggle out of its cocoon in the smallest, most deliberate steps. In his excitement and impatience, the boy began assisting the butterfly in its struggle by removing parts of its cocoon. The butterfly eventually made its way out of its shell only to fall upon the floor and die a few hours later. You see, the butterfly needed to make the struggle to pump the necessary blood into its wings to allow it to open them completely during its small window of opportunity to fully develop.
The same stands true for us...God must allow us to completely realize our utter dependency upon him if we are to be saved, often by experiencing the trials and tribulations of life in this present state. A child never knows his parents are correct until it experiences the pain for himself. An old proverb stands true, Experience is not always the best teacher, it is the hardest.
Like the butterfly, we begin our lives as but a shadow of what we are to become. When we put on Christ, its like the beginning stages of the butterflies metamorphosis. We eventually fall asleep in our death state, then, before we realize the elapsed time, Jesus calls our name and we awaken to everlasting life before him and his angels. Like the seed mentioned in 1 Cor 15:37, we do not fully realize what we are to become; but when you maintain hope in God, as John says in 1 John 3:2.. "one day, we will see Jesus as he is, for we will be like him."