"Therefore 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
Every summer we see beautiful butterflies fluttering; crawlers that spent spring being revitalized in a cocoon especially created by God. They are an example to us of what can happen when we allow God to transform our lives. We have all heard countless discussions on the emergence of a cocooned butterfly used as a metaphor for new birth. However, few people speak about the “ugly stuff” the butterfly goes through during its transformation deep in the confines of its cocoon. —And, we can be certain; there is “ugly stuff.”
As we can imagine, it takes radical plastic surgery for a caterpillar with multiple legs and tiny warts, originally relegated to combing the ground for food, to be transformed into a beautiful multi-colored flyer that will satiate itself from the air with the nectar of flowers. Socially, the caterpillar goes from being a “creepy-crawler” no one wants around, to a beautiful flyer we plant special gardens to attract; forgetting that, if we attract them as butterflies, they will eventually lay caterpillar eggs. (Hmm…a good topic for another day.) I was thinking about the butterfly when I heard a cicada (sic-kay-dah, or sick-ah-dah, either pronunciation is correct) in the tree outside my window.
A cicada is an insect that, contrary to the butterfly, never realizes its full potential. I am not certain why God created the cicada; however, it might have been to give us an example of what happens when you do not allow God to transform your life. Unlike the caterpillar, after the cicada is born it eventually crawls back into the ground to live. Possibly afraid of being eaten by the “crows” of life, it spends the next 17 years hiding underground until it reaches adulthood. It never experiences life; it does not taste the flora of trees or the nectar of flowers. It does not know God. It lives on the dung and other waste byproducts that seep into the earth. Upon reaching adulthood, the cicada, an unattractive nymph, sheds its skin, emerging as a locust-like insect with a timbre underbelly that produces the loud sound we often hear coming from trees. Like the butterfly, it also receives wings; however, the cicada does not really fly, it sort of hops with some degree of loftiness, nourishing itself on the dead branches of trees; since, there was no warm, soft cocoon to protect, nurture and guide its transformation for flight.
So let’s recap, the cicada is born, sleeps for 17 years, awakens to mate, produce offspring, and dies. That is their entire life! And just in case you quietly thought to yourself, “Hmm…that’s not so bad.” Once it awakens from its 17-year nap, it will only live for 6 weeks, two months at best! Two months to do the one thing all creatures are biologically engineered to do—procreate.
I know this will be a stretch for some people, but imagine the butterfly and the cicada as two people given the choice to know God or not. The cicada chooses a life without the knowledge of Jesus Christ; and so, after birth it crawls back into the earth to sleep most of its life away, emerging only to mate and die. While the Butterfly chooses to know God; and, accepting the cocooned transformation necessary to please God, it emerges a beautiful new creature, experiencing life aloft, above the dung piles of the earth, the way God intended for it to live. In real life, the cicada may not have a choice, but we do. –Become transformed! —Then, share your faith and help someone else transform! L.
Study Reference: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
From: " The Butterfly & The Cicada." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell