Saved a Butterfly Today
May 10, 2010 by Richard J Grund
I use a part of the outside pool deck, under the awning, as my workout area. This morning while working out I noticed that a beautiful butterfly was floating in the pool on top of the tubing for our pool cleaner. It upset me to see this. Since last June 2008 when I brought the butterfly from home from the Blanchard Park celebration for Caylee our backyard has become a butterfly sanctuary. That particular butterfly lasted very long and, as I’ve already written, would fly by and buzz me whenever I was in either my front or back yards. This has been witnessed by others. Of course, I knew that it would not last long and with the type of winter we had this year I didn’t expect to see them anymore. However as the weather got warmer they began to appear and now they dot our yards front and back. I always smile when I see them and think of Caylee’s Butterfly and of course think of Caylee.
So, the sight of this butterfly floating in our pool was an unhappy sight. I said out loud, “Lord, I wish I had been here to rescue it when it fell into the water”. Yes I know it’s silly to be sad about a butterfly but if we cannot have compassion and care for the little ones and the least of them how can we have compassion at all. This butterfly had somehow flown into our pool enclosure while the screen door was open and the reflection off of the water must have made it think it was a pond or new area to explore. Once the screen door closed the enclosure became its jail cell and the inability to escape had cost it its life.
I went back to training and as I turned to look out across the pool as I sometimes do I noticed the butterfly’s wings flailing wildly as it sank into the water. Obviously it had landed on the pool cleaner tubing, gotten its wings wet and only been stranded there. I quickly grabbed the pool net, scooped it out of the water and held it up to my face to examine it. Its antennae were moving back and forth so I knew it was alive. However, its wings were soaked and would need to dry off if it were to fly again. Holding the net close to my face I gently blew on its wings attempting to speed up the drying process but from the look of its wings this effort might take a while. The butterfly pushed up on its legs to allow the gentle breeze underneath to get under the wings as well. It was working with me to get its wings dried out. That was a good sign. So, I placed it in a sunny area nearby to let them dry out naturally and walked away. Then, the thought entered my mind, “what if it dries off and tries to get out when I not here to help it. It will be stuck again and all of that was for nothing.”
Grabbing the handle of the pool net I took it outside and tried to find an area where it could finish drying off its wings. There was a sunny area right near the door where I set down the pool net. However that area is also teeming with Florida Lizards and without the ability to fly it would have been helpless and endangered. Thoughts of finishing my workout were set aside and I began to search for a safe area to leave it. I took a large leaf off of a nearby wild bush and slid it under the butterfly. It stepped up onto the leaf and off of the net as if it knew what I was doing.
Now, I had to find someplace safe to place the leaf and just as I thought I did the butterfly slipped off of the leaf and floated to the ground. Well, that was it I thought, I’ve killed it now but the flutter of its wings as it attempted to continue to dry them out was a signal he or she was alright. I know you are wondering how to tell if a butterfly is male or female. I did say I looked underneath it didn’t I? Yes I did but that’s doesn’t tell you anything :-). There is a spot however on the wings of males but with the wings being as wet as they were I could not tell if that spot was there or not.
Sitting on a twig on the ground in the sunlight was a great place to dry out but also a great place to be attacked. I moved some brush, dirt and twigs around it to create a mound to give it some camouflage. I was bound and determined to help this butterfly live so that it could fulfill the calling of its short life that had been short circuited by its misadventure into our pool enclosure. This had become important to me and I could not let go of it. I finished my workout in between trips outside to check on it. I heard a barking from inside the house and recognized it as the Sara, the puppy, alerting me she needed to go out. I got her and another of our dogs and brought them outside with me. I tried to keep them away from the area where the butterfly was but when they got close I noticed something. The butterfly pulled its wings together so that only the underside could be seen and they were a beige color that matched the foliage and twig it was on allowing it blend into its surroundings. As long as it could hide like that it would have a chance. I brought the dogs back inside and then I began to wonder why I had gone to all this trouble to save a butterfly today.
Since last June butterflies have to come to represent and remind me of Caylee when I see them. Maybe in some way I was working out my own issues of not being able to save her or do anything for her in her time of need. I believe that everyone who knew and loved her deals with those thoughts. It’s natural to wonder “could I have done more” “should I have done more” “what if I had done more”. At first I thought maybe that was it but the more I thought about it the more I realized that butterfly represented something else.
That butterfly represents all of those we see in this world who by bad choices are drowning and dying in the enclosure of this world and the pool of their own sin. At first I saw it and wished I could have done more. Then, I was given a chance to do more but as it sank into the pool I could have easily written off as being too late and walked away. I could not do that and the process of saving its life began. Saving someone is a process. Sometimes it means not walking away even if natural reason says too. I would not be here today with my family serving the Lord if certain people had given up on me. Many said I was hopeless and beyond saving but that wasn’t the case. Nothing is too hard or impossible for God!
Getting someone saved is not all you are supposed to do and then you walk away. We weren’t told to give them a list of “do and don’ts” and let them go. We were told to make “disciples” of all we led to the Lord. To make a disciple means walking with them, teaching them, caring about them and, in some instances, protecting them from things that would cause their demise. My first attempt at releasing the butterfly seemed good by placing it in the sun inside my pool enclosure. My quick realization that it was also still in danger of winding up back where I found it meant I had to do more.
How often do we lead someone to the Lord and then release them back into the same environment that got them in danger in the first place. It takes doing more than just a prayer, a ride to church or giving them a Bible to set people on the road to living out their freedom. When the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) He did not just raised him from the dead He also commanded the removal of the grave clothes that wrapped him from head to toe. Being alive meant nothing to Lazarus if he couldn’t walk free from the things that bound him.
My choice to get the butterfly outside the enclosure and into the sunlight meant that it also took it out of a safe environment and put them into harm’s way from natural predators. For a Christian our natural predator is the devil , the other fallen angels and demons of the kingdom of darkness. 1 Peter 5:8 says that our adversary walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (tear apart). It’s our job, and especially the job of leaders (Pastors, Elders, etc.) to protect the baby sheep who cannot yet protect themselves.
By getting it to a safe place and protecting it from being seen I was giving it a chance. Isn’t that what we do with people? We give them a chance. Not everyone we plant a seed of the Word will grow and even in the ones that grow we will see some fall away and whither from the struggle. In the example of the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:5-8 we see that maybe only a third of the seeds planted by the sower will make it. There was nothing we could have done for the other two-thirds. We must concentrate on the seeds that grow and will bear fruit.
Where I placed that butterfly, how I placed that butterfly and the continued attention I gave it was the “process” of saving its life. I do not know if all of that will be enough to get it flying again or whether it will fulfill its destiny ordained by the Creator, Almighty God. I just know that I asked for the chance to save it, I was given the chance and did all that I could do. Now, I must let go and trust God to do the rest whether for that butterfly or for someone in my life. Some of you out there need to know that you’ve done all that you could do and the rest was up to God. If it did not turn out well it’s not your fault and let go. I am speaking to myself here. If we allow the accuser of the brethren to get into our ears and listen to his accusations against us we will be tormented and oppressed by those ungodly thoughts.
And, if you missed your opportunity to save your “butterfly” or gave up too soon you need to let that go as well. The Lord knows the end from the beginning and He knew what you would do. And, He loves you anyway. Repent from a sincere heart and be ready for the next time. Because there will be a next time. He needs our help and until He comes back we are to tarry (occupy) and stay busy for the Kingdom. Hebrews 12:2 says that Yeshua/Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. It doesn’t say He “was” but that He “is” which means He is still active in us and through us. He’s not done with us. He’s still writing on our hearts and souls so that we can His “writings” to a lost and dying world.
Whatever it is that you’ve done, He’s not done with you. If you messed up, He will use you again. For those who did their assignment well then it’s time for your next assignment. He needs your help. If we open our hearts to Him He will use them for His Kingdom. If we cannot have compassion for the lost or wounded “butterflies” of the world drowning in their sin who will we have it for?!
By the way, it took the butterfly all day to dry out its wings but it is fine and just buzzed me outside to let know! 🙂
Matthew 25:40 ( NKJV ) And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Richard J Grund