A fluttering over at a butterfly bush distracted me. I got up to investigate and was amazed to find an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail with shredded wings and part of one tail almost entirely gone. He was still flying.
The butterfly mirrored the tattered and torn way I felt in the present circumstance.
The insect had almost fallen victim to some predator, but somehow escaped―its scars a tribute to its fierce fight for life. The damage was mostly to the anterior wings, which aren’t as necessary as the forewings, but still it was significant. I snapped a few blurry pictures and had to wonder if perhaps God wanted to say something to me through the butterfly’s appearance at that particular moment.
Most of us know butterflies are pollinators carrying pollen from plant to plant to help them produce seeds. This is important work because if plants don’t produce seeds, we’re in big trouble. A butterfly just goes about his business, broken wings or no broken wings. Despite our sense of being fractured, God has a purpose for us. It could be bigger than anything we might imagine. One type of butterfly is even considered a keystone species, which means the loss of it will cause an entire ecosystem to disappear. We cannot forget each of our lives bears inestimable value.
A butterfly’s life span is only two to four weeks, so one only has a few weeks to deal with compromised wings. I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul’s words, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (I Corinthians 4:17). We need to view whatever troubles we’re dealing with here through an eternal lens. These troubles are temporary and something great is in store for us.
I stood for a while studying the butterfly and then it flapped its wings, took to the sky, and soared out of sight.
Maybe, just maybe, the insect’s encouraging appearance in my garden was not only for me, but so I could also write about it here and say to someone who feels their wings torn, “Hey, keep flying, friend, despite your brokenness. God has a special purpose for you. And it won’t be long before we see His face.”
I’m praying the visitor to my back yard leaves you with the same thing it gave me―hope.