I’ve said it before, and I will likely say it again. Spring is my favorite time of the year. There are other times of the year that I am fond of, but nothing tops spring in my book. It’s a new start. Everything old is new again. Bulbs that were planted in the fall push their way up through the cold ground to find the sun. I once planted some bulbs in my front yard that actually came up. No one told them they were supposed to be purple. Actually they turned out white, but who cares? They were still beautiful.
The grass is never greener than it is in the springtime. The sky is never bluer.
Things change seemingly overnight during spring. One my azalea bushes were covered in buds, and the they were heavy with rich, bright pink blooms. What looked like completely dead crepe myrtle trees one week, are bursting forth with tiny green buds the next. Boy birds are singing in earnest hoping to impress the girl birds. Early mornings and late afternoons find little brown bunnies scurrying through my yard and the yards of my neighbors.
My two youngest kids have discovered caterpillars.
There are brown caterpillars everywhere. They have captured a small colony of these creepy crawlies, and placed them in caterpillar refugee camps in hopes of watching their metamorphosis into butterflies. I know they have visions of beautiful monarch butterflies emerging from their cocoons. Unfortunately, thanks to the Internet, I now know the caterpillars my kids have collected are not ever going to be monarch butterflies. They will not ever be butterflies of any kind. Nope, my kids have collected tent caterpillars. (Isn’t the Internet wonderful?) Apparently tent caterpillars don’t morph into butterflies. Instead they morph into smallish brown moths; the kind that my daughter squeals in fear of, and runs away from. However some moths are beautiful.
I am reminded of a large, green moth that I now know is called a Luna Moth. (Yes, again with the Internet) One day, way back when I was in high school (A very long time ago) I had stayed after school for marching band practice. It was a sweltering, hot Alabama afternoon, and we had taken a much-needed break in the shade of the school building.
Someone pointed out a large, bright green moth that was perched on the side of the building. It was every bit of five inches across, and it was holding onto the brick about twenty feet up in the air. None of us had ever seen such a large moth before. Several of us just stood there staring at it.
I’ll admit, not a lot of exciting things happened in this little town.
As we watched, and without warning, a mockingbird flew in, snatched up the moth, and was gone in an instant! For a few seconds, none of us knew what to say. What was there to say, really? We all just sort of shrugged our shoulders, and went back to practice. That is what most would call an anti-climatic story. But I have thought of that moth from time to time. It was just so big, and well, beautiful. I suppose the mockingbird thought he had just super-sized his lunch!
Spring, for me, is all about hope.
It’s a tangible ending to a cold, often seemingly hopeless winter. The evidence of the new life around me sings of God’s love and presence in my life. It reminds me of the hope I now have. As my kids gather the tent caterpillars, they have hope of a new life: a transformed life.
What better example in nature is there of new life than a caterpillar?
In reality it’s the same bug, only different. That’s what Christ does for us. We are the same bug after we come to Christ, just different. The same, but different. The caterpillar-turned-butterfly, or moth as the case may be, has the ability to see the world from a whole new perspective. A new and different adventure awaits the transformed bug. The same is true for those who choose to follow Christ. We are transformed. A new adventure awaits us.
Tent caterpillars are fine, but maybe if we look really hard this spring we should be able to find a Luna Moth caterpillar. After all, this has got to be one BIG caterpillar. Now that would be a transformation to see! We’ll just make sure there are no mockingbirds around to spoil the fun.
Do you have this sort of reaction to Spring? Do you find it easier to see God at work this time of year? Look around, what have you seen this spring that has God’s finger prints all over it…