Monday, September 21, 2009

Beauty from pestilence

Yesterday I walked outside to water my lemon tree. Yes, I have a lemon tree. When leaving a training program in Florida, I saw it in the airport and it's actually grown into quite a lovely little patio tree. It has yet to actually make any lemons, but what can you do?

So I see what looks like rather large bird poop on one of the leaves. Strange, but maybe a bird was sitting on the railing of my patio? But the more I looked at it, I noticed a certain symmetry. It was some kind of caterpillar!

My boyfriend was visiting, so I yelled for him to come look at how gross it was. Before the words were even out of my mouth, I noticed that there were about half a dozen of them all over my plant. Ugh, I'd been invaded by poop-monsters!

Being less squeamish about the bugs than me, he poked at one of them ... which promptly caused it to display menacing looking orange horn-like protrusions from its head-area. Now it looks gross AND evil, or at least poisonous. I certainly wanted them off my plant. But I had to know what they were in order to do that.

It didn't take much of a search to find out that these shockingly disgusting looking creatures actually winters in a chrysalis and emerges in the spring as a giant swallowtail butterfly - 4 to 5.5 inches and a sunny bright yellow with black markings.

Now, I obviously like frogs. But as much as I like frogs, I also LOVE butterflies. The China pattern I always wanted is "Butterfly Meadow" by Lenox, about as girlie-garden as you can get. There was no way I could destroy these ugly creatures who are eating my fruitless lemon tree ... simply based on their potential.

I wonder if God sees us this way? I may have heard it before, but had forgotten that God decided His Spirit could not put up with us humans for longer than 120 years. In our sin and fruitless living we must look at least as ugly as those caterpillars. But God knows that, if we let Him be in control, He can form us into something of awe-inspiring beauty. I want to let God make me into something He can once again look at. It will take a lifetime, but it is worth it and I'm thankful He still gives us a chance. That simply accepting His son is enough for Him to look at us again.

Even beyond that - He can take the ugliest, most painful situations and turn them into something that brings Him incomparable glory.

The poop-imitating caterpillar is hard for me to look at, but because I love the butterflies I'm going to give them a chance.

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