Ride the Wind Home
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
When most people look over a meadow, they see tall grasses and useless weeds. My eleven year old son’s view is different. His eyes notice tall milkweed plants that hold potential. Long, slender fingers gently turn the leaves upward as he searches for dining monarch caterpillars. He has a passion to rear the caterpillars at home because there is a less than a 10% chance that the egg/caterpillar will survive on the leaf.
The caterpillars are placed in mason jars that line the perimeter of our front room. He faithfully provides fresh leaves each day and watches the small insects grow large enough to be moved into a mesh enclosure. One-by-one, they crawl on the ceiling of the enclosure, hang down in the form of a “J,” and shed skin to become a stunning green chrysalis. The next few weeks are spent anticipating the miraculous appearance of a breath-taking butterfly. The butterfly life cycle often serves as an illustration that, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17-18).
I’ve always thought of the butterfly’s emergence as the conclusion of the process, but my son’s dedication to his interest has reminded me that it’s just the beginning. Once the wings are dried, he places the butterfly on a flower outside where it sits until it is ready to begin the migratory journey south. In the same way, the story doesn’t end at the moment Jesus rescues a soul. To live life abundantly as a Christ-follower means we need to begin a journey in which we strive to:
TRUST THE PROVIDER – The design of even the smallest of creatures says much about the Creator. It should give comfort and strengthen confidence that God will always care and provide for us. Jesus said, ““Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:25-26,31-33). We spread our wings to fly in faithful obedience to the One who gives us life.
FEAST WISELY – In order for insects to thrive, the right nutrients are vital. We are what we “eat.” To spend time in the Word is to spend time with Jesus (John 1:1). If we long to more like Christ, we need to consistently feast on Scripture. Jesus prayed on our behalf saying, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth,” (John 17:17).
BE A FLIGHT PLANNER – It’s incredible to contemplate how God wired a small butterfly with an internal flight path. With each strong beat of its wings or cruise along a wind stream, the monarch knows which direction to go. We are traveler’s in this world who are created to live in eternal relationship with God. Though we face obstacles and battle against sin on earth, He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the Church to aid us in each step we take toward the ultimate destination – Heaven. We must remember to “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is,” (Ephesians 5:15-17). To be a wise planner is to live with intention.
Watching my son work with monarchs has forever changed the way I look at butterflies. When I see one soar past, it’s a hope-filled reminder that God isn’t through with me or any of His children. He makes us beautiful. When we follow Jesus, we are a living testament of a great and loving Creator. There are days we feel the weight of the journey, exhaustion stifles, or the wind is turbulent. Do not stop pressing forward because what we face is not the end of the story. Each day we ride the wind closer to our forever Home – the journey has only begun.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-9