Even though butterfly eggs are glued securely to the plant, they are quite vulnerable. If the weather is too cold or too dry, they won’t survive. They are often eaten by birds, snails, spiders, other insects, and reptiles. Grazing animals sometimes eat the leaves the eggs were laid on.
One of the worst problems is that microscopic wasps get into the butterfly eggs and eat the yolk. Sometimes, the eggs are laid never having been fertilized. When this happens, the eggs will dry out and rot. As you can see, there are many dangers awaiting the butterfly eggs, which is why the vast majority will not survive and make it to the next stage. Who knew?
But butterfly eggs aren’t the only creatures whose survival is in jeopardy. Baby Christians will also experience perilous times. Peter tells us to Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Paul writes in his letter to Timothy that many will fall into temptations and traps that plunge people into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 4:12). Perhaps the Lord himself described it best in his Parable of the Sower and the Seed.
Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (Matthew 13:1-23).
In the same way that butterfly eggs have a tough time making it to the next level, Butterfly Believers also have a tough time surviving temptations, distractions, the devil, the cares and concerns of life, deception, lack of depth, or having no roots. St. Paul would add false teachers and persecution to the list. Hebrews would suggest that there are sins that entangle us and may jeopardize our walk with the Lord.
On the other hand, there is a purpose in our struggles. James reminds us to Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
Mature and complete. Not lacking anything. Strong enough to endure whatever we face. That’s what the Lord has in mind for us. He has given us his spirit for strength, guidance, and inspiration. He also places people in our lives to encourage and mentor us. We have what it takes to make it. No wonder James can tell us to be joyful. But we still have to go through the storms and struggles.
This is what the people of God experienced during the tough days after they returned from the Babylonian captivity and started rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They faced all sorts of difficulties. Yet, Nehemiah could stand up and proclaim to the people, The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). And he was right.
This is an excerpt from the book, Butterfly Believers, available on this website or from Amazon. The book is perfect for a personal 40-day devotional, but also an excellent resource for a class or home group discussion. A lot of people have given it as a gift. The photo below was taken and graciously provided by Don Biadog, a retired Navy chaplain.