THE butterfly


Having visited a butterfly farm it was forcibly brought home to me the many differing species of this beautiful creature. There they were freely flying about, so many bejewelled examples of this insect that is but one of so many wonders in creation. Adjacent to the main glasshouse that housed the controlled environment where the butterflies were, was a smaller room where the caterpillars and chrysalis were kept. The caterpillars were often well camouflaged and certainly not particularly pretty to look at. The chrysalises were from the outside apparently dry husks, dead and uninviting, or else shrouded in a cocoon of silky threads.

There were some chrysalises that never matured and a butterfly never emerged from the casing. Some butterflies emerged and fell to the ground damaged, but tender care by the keeper soon deposited them back onto a branch and they quickly recovered.Others emerged weak and bedraggled, but soon the wings expanded and they appeared in all their resplendent glory.

Poor nourishment or the wrong environment before the chrysalis stage would mean death and that the change to becoming a butterfly would never take place. change in the environment or damage during the chrysalis stage will mean that the butterfly will not emerge. The right nourishment, the right environment and protection from harm resulted in a wonderful change taking place, a new creature emerging from an apparently dead chrysalis.

Now as human beings in our natural state, we are nothing particularly pleasing to look at now from God’s perspective. He sees a creature marred by sin, ugly from a spiritual perspective and one whose sole aim in life appears to be to voraciously devour all that it can find. Thus, mankind labours long and hard to satisfy his desires, but gives little heed to what is truly important. John has this to say:

“All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he that does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17)

If we eat the wrong ‘food’ and are living in an environment not conducive to healthy spiritual growth, then we will live and die as caterpillars, we will never change.So the Lord Jesus exhorts us to seek out the right food if that change is to take place:

“Labour not for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man will give you”. John 6:27

That spiritual food is of course the word of God, thus we read “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby:” 1Peter 2:2. That ‘pure milk of the word’ and maintaining the right environment will help the transformation process to take place. Both light and warmth is required to maintain the correct environment for healthy growth and Paul reminds us to keep separate from darkness saying, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” for “You are all sons of light, and sons of the day. We are not of the night, nor of darkness”. (Eph 5:11 & 1Thess 5:5)

Moths may love the night, but butterflies are creatures of the light and day. God in His infinite wisdom and mercy “has delivered us from the power of darkness, and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13)

Therefore, if we want to change from our ugly caterpillar state and become a beautiful butterfly we must go through a transformation. The transformation must begin now; we must “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3:18)

Then though we enter into a chrysalis state and from the outward appearance are apparently dead, in the mercy of God a transformation will take place, miraculous, wonderful and beyond our full comprehension now. can no more conceive the change that shall take place than could a caterpillar, were it able, to perceive that one day it should fly. may be damaged by the vagaries of life and we are certainly spiritually weak, but the Lord our God is compassionate and full of tender mercies. If we but do our best, He will make up what is lacking, for in the end:

“We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1Cor 15:51-52)

Thus the ‘butterfly’ shall emerge from its cocoon, no more ugly, no more weak, no more prone to sin, but be arrayed in fine linen, the righteousness bestowed by God upon those who truly are His children.

So rejoice, hold fast to what is good, eat the right spiritual food, and maintain the right environment conducive to healthy spiritual growth for:

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9)

Andy Peel