Free to Fly

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

The day has finally arrived! After 10 days of patiently watching our chrysalis, the fully formed butterfly has emerged. It was an incredible sight to behold. As I said in an earlier post, it’s truly amazing to me how drastically the butterfly changes. And how does all that happen in a tight little chrysalis that appears to be 1/4 or less than the size of the final butterfly? In the picture below you can see what’s left of the chrysalis hanging from the stick and how big the butterfly is compared to it.

Imagine the code that is running inside the chrysalis to bring about all those changes. It truly is too much for my mind to process. All I can say is, “How amazing is our God?” This is one butterfly amongst a family of many butterflies amongst an enormous class of insects and look at how incredible just this single transformation was. God is in the details of making life spectacular and beautiful. He doesn’t just make it function he makes it function absolutely beautifully. And this is the original process he created that has happened time and time again for thousands of years. While I didn’t observe this butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, I have read that once they break free they actually stay put for some amount of time. There is a two-part process that must occur before they can fly. First, they must pump fluid from their abdomen into their wings so they can expand them to the appropriate size. Then, while continuing to hang, they must let their wings dry out. If they try to fly before both of these things happen, they may damage their wings and be left permanently unable to fly. There are two final things God is highlighting to me as I close out my devotions on this incredible transformation.

First, is for all of those who are as fond of numbers and math as I am. I want to break down this Eastern Black Swallowtails life cycle and compare it to the length of time he was in a season of deep change. On average, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, they are alive for around 52 days. Some will actually overwinter in the chrysalis stage, but I am not going to include those numbers as that is really more of a hibernation. 10 days in a chrysalis out of a life of 52 days means that our butterfly was undergoing significant change for 19.2% of its life. Let’s compare that to our human lifespan of around 85 years and our potential for significant spiritual change. If there is any correlation, that will mean we could undergo around 16.3 years of change. That’s 195.6 months or 5,949.5 days or 142,788 hours or 8,567,280 minutes of deep change. Not just a simple change of clothes or remodeling of our house. That would be a season of deep spiritual renewal, moving to greater glory, experiencing a greater measure of the character of God or anything that has us in our own spiritual chrysalis waiting on God to finish the work He started. The scripture that comes to me when I think about deep spiritual change is Ezekiel 36:26:

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

I am being a little facetious here, but the point I feel God speaking to my spirit is that we should get to a place where we almost expect or desire our chrysalis seasons. If we truly want to live out the book we have in heaven we will most likely have to go through some changes, some renewal, some dying to our own crosses. And in that, we have to learn that the most important thing we can do is not try harder or feel that it’s our burden to bear. Rather, we need to learn to rest in our chrysalis and trust in the God that put us there. As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, we are being renewed or changed day by day:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

So maybe we need to consider that out of each 24-hour day if we follow the butterfly change percentage, we may need to undergo 4.6 hours of renewal or change each day as this scripture says. It’s really just fascinating to me. Ok, I think I am done with the numbers now. On to the second part God was speaking to me. As soon as I learned about this waiting period that a butterfly must undergo once it emerges from its chrysalis, I just knew there was some connection to our spiritual walks. Sometimes we get a prophetic word or there is a ministry opportunity presented to us or we break free of something we have been burdened with for far too long. Many of us (myself included) would love to jump in and get started 5 minutes ago. We think we know exactly what’s next and how to get it done and all of a sudden, we realize we didn’t ask God what He wants us to do. Now, there are surely sometimes where God wants us to act and act quickly, but in my own personal walk I have learned that more often than not, while a door may be open, we still need to wait for God to tell us when and how to go through it. A few scriptures that speak to this waiting are Romans 8:25:

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Psalms 37:7(a):

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;

and Psalms 46:10(a):

10 Be still, and know that I am God;

Final Thoughts…

As I write this, I am still in awe of all that happened in the last couple of weeks. This caterpillar shows up on my back porch, transforms into a chrysalis and then emerges as one of the most beautiful and delicate creatures on earth. God is not a God of coincidences. He is our Creator and He has and always will delight in making it all beautiful and blessing us greatly along the way. He knows the seasons of change are hard, but He also knows that it’s in these seasons that we experience new and greater measures of Him and that we discover more and more of who He made us to be. Don’t dread the change. Instead, desire deep day-by-day renewal. If the thought of this terrifies you, ask God for His perfect love that casts out all fear. If you doubt that He can do this for you, ask Holy Spirit to help your unbelief. If you don’t feel you have the strength, ask God to send you ministering angels as He did to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. If you don’t like the idea of being holed up in a chrysalis unable to move, ask God to help you come to Him and let Him give you rest. Whatever chrysalis you find yourself in, think about the incredible process God created for this butterfly. You too will soon have fresh wings and be flying on to the next chapter in your book.