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  • Pastor Ralph

Favourite Reflections: Butterflies

This year, I haven’t spent a lot of time in my backyard. But, when I do, one thing I have noticed are the monarch butterflies. For several years they were quite scarce. I understand they declined significantly due to the destruction of milk weed plants, which they feed on as caterpillars. They seem to have made a comeback.

One thing that has always interested me is the migration patterns of monarch butterflies. These tiny little creatures, that look very fragile, migrate from Ontario, all the way to Mexico for the winter. Remarkable! In doing some research, I found the following information that adds to God’s marvellous design and plan for these butterflies and our world.

The author writes, “You have probably have heard of the monarch butterfly migrating some 4,000 miles round trip, but have you heard of the painted lady butterfly migration? This butterfly migrates between Europe and Africa, flying an incredible 9,000 miles round trip. Why has this not been discovered until recently? People have not spotted these butterflies migrating because they fly at altitudes up to 3,000 feet and at speeds of 30 mph. Radar recently discovered millions of these butterflies migrating high up in the atmosphere. More than 60,000 sightings of painted lady butterflies have also been made as far north as the Arctic Circle.

The 9,000 mile migration takes six generations to complete. A butterfly might fly from Norway to Britain where it will breed and die, and then the next five generations will carry on the migration, breeding, flying, dying in an effort to fly all the way to Africa and returning to Norway. This is amazing! The tiny creature, weighing less than a gram, with a pin-sized head, having no opportunity to learn the migration route from older butterflies, undertakes and succeeds at this epic migration. How do they know where to go? God set this up from the beginning to show His great power. God has woven this information into the genetic code of each butterfly so that each generation “knows” what stage of the migration cycle the butterfly is in. This information is passed on to each generation.”

These magnificent butterflies remind me that we have a marvellous God who has designed nature to reflect His glory. These little butterflies show me that, as they follow God’s design and plan, they are taken care of, along with each generation to come. I am reminded of such scripture as Psalm 19:14 (ESV), “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun…”

We have a marvellous God who reveals Himself, in a general sense, through creation and, in a special sense, through His word and the Lord Jesus Christ. This world is His creation and He will take from what we have now and, with His resurrection power, will transform this world into a “new heaven and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-5; Isiah 65:17-19 etc.). These little butterflies remind us that we have a God whose hand is upon history and will guide us, and this earth, home safely.

“This is my Father’s world:

Oh, let me ne’er forget

that though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,

the battle is not done:

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

and earth and Heav’n be one.”

Trust Him! The best is yet to come – Pastor Ralph

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