God created unique stages of life for all living creatures, plant life, and humans. This is apparent with butterflies.
For instance, the Monarch butterfly starts life as a light-colored egg, the size of a pinhead.
You can turn over a slender milkweed leaf and spot the random eggs adhered to the leaf. But it doesn’t take long before a tiny, striped caterpillar emerges. It is very small, but it grows rapidly as it munches on milkweed leaves–chewing at a very fast pace.
Take the time to bend close to a caterpillar and watch it gobble up a leaf. Even that stage of their life is amazing.
But most delightful is when a butterfly’s wings are ready to take on unique drafts of air and strong winds. Butterflies don’t usually jump from branch to branch with gentle flutters, or with repeated attempts at flying, as a baby bird might leave the nest. Instead, a butterfly just takes off flying, sometimes soaring upwards in loops and circles toward the tops of trees. It’s like a flight of joy.
Of course, that fast flight may keep them from immediately being captured.
Compared to God, we humans are tiny. After birth, we don’t jump into the role of an adult human–physically, mentally, or spiritually.
There are stages of growth in our life, and not everyone proceeds at the same pace. And that is so true about our spiritual growth! Some people have the advantage of being schooled from birth, taught about God, taken to church, and encouraged to attend a Christian college, etc.
But not everyone comes from a family who encourages spiritual growth.
God understands each person’s unique situation. He calls people to come to Him and experience life to the fullest. And spiritual growth may come in small steps, as we learn and believe.
We aren’t going to swirl to the top of a church steeple and have all we will ever need of God’s love and forgiveness. We must learn to walk through the stages of growth in our spiritual life, while depending on God and older Christians to guide us with each new situation.
God is good. He stays with us.
Please, leave your comments below! Have you experienced stages of growth in your life? Please, mention a couple incidents. Remember, your comment may help another person!
~Karen Campbell Prough
Then we got a cold snap. I feared the caterpillars would suffer harm, so I collected all of them. I put them in a jar for the night and gave them a supply of leaves. As the weather warmed the next day, I transferred them back to the stems of the plants. They continued to grow.
Two days ago, during another chilly morning, I went outside to fill the chickens’ water containers. But there was a caterpillar underneath the first loop of the water hose. Nope … that’s not a good place to establish even a temporary home.
I carefully removed him. He was cold, stiff, and not moving. I brought him in the house, put him in my “caterpillar jar” with some sticks, and sat the jar in an inch of warm water. He finally started wiggling and crawled up the side of the jar, got on a stick and crawled downward. Last night he attached himself to the stick and hung upside down. But he chose to hang close to the bottom of the jar! That’s not a wise place to hang out.
This morning I checked on him. He hung there, wiggling slightly. I thought, yep, he’s ready to shed his outer covering. I took the dog out and came back in. The caterpillar had thrown off his old, dark rags, and he hung there in a new green suit. I missed seeing the transformation! But I continued to watch him.
The chrysalis wiggled, and I wished I could see inside, to see the amazing process take place. With each wiggle, the green casing changed shape. The top thickened and rounded, the length shortened. A gold dotted line brightened around the top like a crown. The chrysalis grew fatter, firmer, and smoother. It took about thirty minutes, and I snapped pictures.
Now, the chrysalis hangs from the branch, much too close to the bottom of the jar. I will tape the branch higher up in a day or so, so the butterfly will have room to lengthen and flex its wings when it hatches out of confinement.
How like human life. We’re like that caterpillar—often going the wrong direction, hiding in the wrong spot, sinking to the bottom of life, and trying to do things on our own.
God picks us up, warms us with his love, and offers forgiveness. He places us next to his heart and watches over us as we begin the transformation. It quite often takes a long time for us to change, to wiggle through circumstances, throw off the old life, toss away bad habits, and drop the stained and wrinkled garments of sin.
Then life takes on a new, bright appearance. But we are still growing, developing a heart for God, and changing with his guidance. We appear different. People have no problem seeing that we’ve left the old life behind. Some watch us with awe—remembering how we once crawled through life, getting into tight spots.
We mature under God’s direction. And there is coming a day when the shell of this earthy life will split asunder and we will awaken in radiance and beauty. We’ll experience the newness of our appearance; past woes will be tossed aside. We shall lift off this earth to soar in the heavenly realms, higher than any butterfly has ever gone.
“In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.” Colossians 3:10 NLT
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it touches your heart and makes you realize that God wants the best for us.
© Karen Campbell Prough
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