The Butterfly Effect
God whispered to me this week through the struggles of a monarch butterfly.
Here’s what happened.
I was on a walk with a friend alongside Salt Creek. We were talking over a particularly painful situation and the cesspool of consequences that had resulted. As I was internally questioning and praying for those impacted, I happened upon a butterfly in distress. .
This particular monarch meandered along the yellow centerline of the asphalt path in the manner of Captain Jack Sparrow. Her wings seemed damp (was it the morning dew? Newly hatched, perhaps?) and were stuck together, leaving her utterly ground-bound. While I’m generally a believer in the “let nature take its course” principle, my sense of compassion for the struggling Lepidoptera moved me to attempt some help.
I crouched down and offered a finger of first aid. The polka-dotted body immediately saddled up, relieved to ride on my hand. I offered some warm, slow breaths, trying to act as a human heater for the still-drying wings. Within minutes, the butterfly had shaken off her drunken sailor sway and found the confidence to flap, leap, and fly away. I couldn’t have been more delighted.
There is a memorable scene in Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum’s character explains the concept of chaos theory. “It simply deals with unpredictability in complex systems,” he says. “The shorthand is ‘the butterfly effect.’ A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking, and in Central Park, you get rain instead of sunshine.” I secretly hoped that the flapping of this particular winged beauty was a sign of hope that something could change—would change by God’s grace—for the very friend that I was walking beside.
This butterfly brought some order to my perspective of an otherwise chaotic situation. I sensed Jesus saying, If you have compassion on a monarch, Gregg, how much more compassion might I have for my children?
Then I sensed God whispering, “If a little human breath can help a butterfly to find its wings, what might happen when I supply the breath of my life-giving Spirit?”
Perhaps you, too, feel weighed down by some grief or trouble in the world or feel your own wings so dampened that taking flight in life right now just isn’t an option. Rest assured that there is a compassionate God who will indeed extend a hand of mercy towards you. There is a life-giving Spirit who will breathe on you, warm you and dry your tears, who will empower you to live as you were created to.
Our part is simply to keep our eyes, ears, and senses open to God’s often surprising ways of breaking through. It might be through something as common as an insect alongside Salt Creek.
- Pastor Gregg