Butterflies are one of God's prettiest creations. Like tiny stained-glass windows fluttering around, they share a similar growth cycle to that of a Christian.
A butterfly goes through four stages of growth and transformation. The first stage is as an egg; fragile and delicate, needing protection and nourishment for growth. Though people show hard exteriors and put up shields, when they first give their hearts to Jesus they are like fragile delicate eggs, understanding little, but they come under God’s guidance and protection.
The second stage for the butterfly is hatching out of the egg as a caterpillar. Not too many people would say that caterpillars are very pretty. They have short, stumpy legs and long, worm-like bodies.
During this stage, the caterpillars focus on devouring food and growing. Caterpillars will moult at least four times before moving into their third life stage. New Christians also aren’t very endearing, as they deal with all the bad habits and behaviour they’ve acquired and learn to clean up their act. They are constantly feeding on the Bible and praying to God for their growth.
The third stage for the butterfly is called the pupa stage. The caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon, known as a chrysalis, once reaching its full size. It waits in this protective shell without eating or moving to prepare for the next stage of life.
This, in Christians, is when God fills up the empty places in their hearts with his love, peace, grace, truth and strength. They are ready to hear what God has for them.
The fourth and final stage is the opening of the cocoon and, once the butterfly gets used to its new body and wings, it takes off. When Christians understand who they are, know and understand the Bible, this is when they put their knowledge into action by serving God in churches, mentoring others, working with the poor and needy or in whatever avenue God calls them to serve Him and others.
Scientists have approximated 28,000 species of butterflies around the world, each one uniquely designed and, as it says in the Bible, "fearfully and wonderfully made" just as we too are uniquely designed.
There is no need to desire someone else's Christian life when God has prepared a specific purpose for each one of us and gifted us to fulfil that purpose. He will faithfully guide us through all stages of life.
Pam Sammut, pastor, Tenterfield Community Church