This past weekend, I was sitting on my friend’s porch talking to him and his older sister. It was a beautiful day, and we were enjoying the amazing weather. While we were talking, my friend noticed a caterpillar crawling on the porch. Something that would be ignored by most led to God reminding me about an amazing truth!
After noticing the caterpillar, my friend picked him up and scolded him in a joking manner, “What are you doing little guy? You should be a butterfly by now and on your way to Mexico! If you don’t hurry, you are going to die when the weather gets cool soon!” He then placed the caterpillar on a bush by the porch saying, “Here you go! You eat all you want! You need to hurry up and make a cocoon!” When he placed the caterpillar on the bush, the little creature fell through and landed on the ground below. My friend told him one more time to hurry up and become a butterfly, and then it was forgotten and the conversation turned to something else.
Except I didn’t forget it.
Something about my friend taking the time to show genuine care for the little creature and placing him back where he needed to be stuck with me. As I continued to think through it, God showed me something beautiful and truly exciting!
Let’s start by looking more closely at this story from the caterpillar’s perspective. There is a path set for that caterpillar, one that will bring it abundant life, one that will be best for it. This caterpillar was not following that path. If it had continued what it was doing, it would have died the first cold snap we got. He probably wasn’t thinking about any of this, however. He was probably just enjoying the warmth and doing whatever he wanted to. He had no idea what the consequences for this would be, or what self-destruction he was causing.
Then out of nowhere, BOOM! His whole life changed! His seemingly happy, peaceful life was thrown into chaos as he was moved from sun and warmth to a cold, dark, damp, dirty place, not gently, but from falling off a bush! If I was this caterpillar, I would be scared and panicked at best. It would seem to him that he was in a terrible place in life. In reality, all he had to do was look up and there was everything he needed to get back on the right path, the path that led towards life.
Now let’s apply this to our lives.
How many times do we stray from the path that God has set for us? How many times do we fall away from the plans he has for our well being, our safety, our abundant life? Probably more times than we are willing to admit. The crazy part is that most of the time we don’t even realize how serious it is! We are just enjoying the ride and not paying any mind to the consequences.
But God is!
How lucky are we for that! God sees us straying from Him, and often times, he picks us up and places us in a situation that looks scary or difficult, not to hurt us, but to get us back on the right track. It is in this situation where we can chose to continue walking the wrong path, or we can chose to look up and find everything we need.
Let’s look at a real life example. I have a friend in East Asia who was recently hospitalized for seizures. The belief right now is that these seizures were caused, or at least directly influenced by stress in this man’s life. He is a believer, but he was still allowing stress to infiltrate his life in a huge way! This shows that he was not walking directly on the path that God had set for him. Instead of choosing to trust the Lord, he was walking in anxiety, stress, and fear.
And then God stepped in.
Yes, the man is now in the hospital, but this is exactly where he needs to be! In this dark, difficult, and scary point in his life, he is forced to either trust in God completely, or to keep living in stress. He is in the same place that the caterpillar was when he fell through the bush. I am praying now that my friend will decide to look up and choose the path of life.
So many times when we are in a difficult situation, we blame God or we immediately call it a test. I offer a third option. Maybe it is God acting in love and compassion by putting us back on the path we need to be on.
Thinking about this has really shown me deeper how much God cares for us, and how involved He is in our lives. Have any of you ever been in a situation like my friend or like this caterpillar? How did God help you get back on the right path?
I would love to hear from you and be encouraged with how God is working in each of your lives!