The Lovely Monarch Butterfly: Part 2

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
It is early summer in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and across the continent in Alaska. Great flocks of beautiful orange and black monarch butterflies have just arrived in these areas after a two-thousand-mile flight from warm, southern climates. These are the very same butterflies that had migrated south the previous fall.
The milkweed plant grows in great numbers in these areas. It is one of the few plants that the larvae of these butterflies can eat. The female wastes no time as she flits about, depositing eggs on the underside of the leaves of this plant.
Tiny caterpillars, about one-eighth-inch long, hatch in less than a week. They first eat the egg shell from which they have hatched, and then they eat nothing but milkweed leaves. After about two weeks, they have grown to their full size. These caterpillars are not pretty like their butterfly parents; their skin has yellow, black and white stripes.
The monarch's Creator did not intend them to remain ugly and destructive. After reaching full size, each caterpillar produces a tough silken thread from its mouth which it anchors under a leaf or twig and then suspends itself. Then its final layer of skin splits and peels off, and its exposed body hardens in the air, changing into a pupa. During the next twelve days, a great change takes place. Finally, what is inside works its way out.
You have probably guessed that the ugly caterpillar has changed into a beautiful butterfly with its wings pressed tightly against its sides. It climbs up on a leaf to rest an hour or more while its wings expand and harden. Suddenly, without the help of any lessons or trial flights, it spreads its wings and flies away, a fully grown butterfly. From now on, it feeds only on nectar.
When the weather turns cooler, each butterfly, along with hundreds of thousands more, will leave everything behind for the winter, migrating to southern climates, as outlined in the last article.
The Lord often has object lessons for us in what He has created. The unattractive caterpillar reminds us that our lives begin with no purpose except to be "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Eph. 2:33Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:3)). We always try to satisfy these desires with what the world offers. But when God's love reaches our hearts, we learn that by accepting Christ as our Savior we are changed into "a new creature" (2 Cor. 5:1717Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)). The butterfly, changed from an ugly caterpillar, has a new appetite for what is sweet. And the believer's appetite should be for the Word of God, which is "sweeter than honey" (Psa. 119:103103How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)).