Don't Rush God!
- 2010 24 May
One of my greatest delights in homeschooling was the opportunity to learn—as a family—spiritual lessons in everyday situations. Several years ago our family observed an amazing miracle in nature: we watched a monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. We came away with a deeper sense of awe about the Creator of the universe who brings forth all life "in due season" and drew some analogies about the necessity to follow God's plan.
When our son David was seventeen years old, he discovered in our backyard a monarch butterfly-to-be—a caterpillar. He put it in a jar with some milkweed leaves and a few twigs, and sure enough, within a week or two, the caterpillar had somehow tucked itself tightly into a chrysalis. At that point David decided we all needed to keep an eye on it, so he carefully removed the twig from the jar and suspended it, with string, from the upper shelf of our hutch in the kitchen.
With each passing day, the chrysalis became more and more transparent, and during the forty-eight hours immediately prior to the butterfly's grand entrance, it seemed as though the appearance of the chrysalis changed hourly. We were tempted to pull up chairs and just sit there and watch it change.
On the day that the butterfly finally emerged, we must have inspected the chrysalis every ten minutes. I can't remember which one of us noticed that the chrysalis was slightly split. Whoever noticed it sounded the alarm, and the rest of us came running. Then we did pull up chairs to watch the show!
Within a short time, we saw the butterfly all folded up on top of itself. It was shiny, and it didn't look much like a monarch butterfly. Then its wings began to "inflate." That day I was particularly grateful that my children were at home, with me, and that we could enjoy this thrilling experience together.
The butterfly hung there a long time. We decided to make sure it could fly to freedom when it decided to let go of that twig, so David took the twig out to the patio and laid it on the railway. We waited. We watched. Nothing happened.
Then something did begin to happen.
Much to our horror, we noticed that the butterfly's wings began to droop. There on the railway, its wings were upright, not hanging beneath its body as they had been when it was attached to the hutch. God's plan for the monarch butterfly is that it should remain suspended—upside down—until its wings dry out and stiffen.
We loved that monarch butterfly; it was practically a member of the family. If our butterfly's wings dried in that drooped position, it would not be able to fly. It would die. We had not cooperated with God's design and timing, and the butterfly was going to pay for it—with its life.
We sprang into action. David quickly rigged up the twig so that once again it was suspended (with the butterfly still clinging to it, surely unaware of its demise). We prayed, asking the Lord to forgive us for our lack of wisdom and to have mercy on this little butterfly.
Again, we watched. We waited. This time we waited somewhat anxiously, but we had hope. Slowly, ever so slowly, the wings straightened out and became stiff and strong. Several hours later, all of us were watching when it began to gracefully move its beautiful wings. What a wonderful sight!
Later we discussed the near disaster for which we had been responsible. We all had anticipated the moment when we would watch that butterfly enjoy its first flight, but we had rushed the process and almost thwarted the plan.
Have you ever rushed God? Have you had good motives yet failed to wisely consider God's plan, His purposes, His timing before you made your choices? I have done that many times. I'm still trying to learn this lesson of not rushing God. The next time you see a monarch butterfly, remember: Don't rush God. Instead, hang in there!
By the way, David is now twenty-eight years old. He just informed me this week that he is seriously considering planting some milkweed in his backyard. I think that's an excellent idea, don't you?
Donna Rees is the General Editor and Contributing Writer for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Donna was introduced to homeschooling as a first-grader when her mother homeschooled her on the mission field in Ghana, West Africa. Donna and her husband Timus were blessed with the privilege of education both of their children at home, depending daily on God ‘s grace for wisdom and strength.
Copyright 2008, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.