Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yesterday Caleb had a wonderful early birthday surprise showing up at his bedroom window – not one, but two beautiful butterflies were born just outside his room, sending my wonder-struck children into a screaming frenzy at seven o’clock in the morning. When I calmed them down, we all tiptoed excitedly on the wet grass to more closely examine the miracle that took place in our backyard. The butterflies were even more glorious when we looked at them still holding onto the chrysalis, swaying imperceptibly as they were drying off their delicate wings,

Then I remembered something… About two weeks ago, as I was mowing the lawn, I noticed with creepy-crawly disgust of an anti-bacterial-soap sanitized urban girl that there were dozens of hideous, dangerous looking maggots inching their way up our house. I was too tired and too scared to walk over to the garage and pull out the most powerful insect killer and counter-assault this invading army, so I let them be. Who would have thought that something so ugly can turn into something so exquisite?

As I looked around I noticed hundreds more caterpillars diligently munching away on our neighbor’s Passiflora incarnata cascading over the fence into our backyard. But this time, rather than being disgusted by the ‘maggots’ I thought, Munch away, little butterflies, munch away…

So often when confronted with unsightly features of the people-maggots ‘in-the-process’ – the metamorphosis – of turning into butterflies, I quickly reach for the human version of the most powerful insecticide that's handy. How impatient and destructive I can be towards these 'pests', proudly oblivious of the glorious processes at work all around me in the butterfly garden of this life. Then, I think of even more glorious transformation of the horrid, life-annihilating cross of Christ, which became the door, the only door to Life, life indeed. If God can do something so magnificent through the death of His Son, how much more should I trust Him with lesser nuisances that show up on the threshold of my life?

Maybe next time I see the prickly wormish-looking creature around my house or in the street, I need to ask myself What kind of glorious winged being is he or she being transformed into even as he is polishing off my Asclepias syriaca. Or even better, How can I become a better host to these creatures by planting more caterpillar-attracting plants…a seedling of Truth, a grafting of hospitality, a sprig of delightful winsomeness of Jesus…and my whole life may become a feast for the hungry caterpillars on the way to becoming butterflies?… Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said, He who wants to save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for My sake, shall save it.