All over the island stands our national tree the lignum-vitae, known as ironwood for its strength; emblematic of the tenacity of a people. This time of year, it is a sheer delight to witness the site of lignum-vitae trees almost enshrouded in yellow Sulphur butterflies in their frenzied mating ritual. One afternoon as I savored this breathtaking visual, two thoughts came to mind, one a quote from C.S. Lewis;

“We’re on the wrong side of the tapestry. We may not always know what the master artist is doing in our lives but the important thing is, He does” C.S. Lewis – Pain is God’s Megaphone.

The sight of these ethereal creatures transported me to my childhood front yard where one of these magnificent trees still stands. You see, as a child, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the life cycle of these fairy-like creatures, so I know they didn’t always dance in splendor. Long before these butterflies make their debut as delightfully delicate winged beauties, pleasing to the eye, they were eggs; microscopic organisms most of us never see. They remained nested on leaves that would later become their food once hatched as caterpillars. To childhood me, caterpillars were a nuisance, an invasion of my front deck that simply served to impede my play. I couldn’t stand the sight of these ugly, sometimes hairy, always loathsome creatures! So I exercised my God-given dominion and squashed many caterpillars only to further my revulsion when the contents of their fragile skin came oozing out onto the deck. What I didn’t realize at that stage of childhood was that for each caterpillar that met the bottom of my shoes, it meant one less butterfly to enjoy.

I could only see the underside of the tapestry; messy, chaotic, seemingly unruly threads devoid of any beauty or splendor. Much the same way I see my life sometimes. I don’t know about you, but I often create my own mess of gargantuan proportion and most times struggle to see how any good could ever come of it. How could Romans 8:28 ever be true? Perhaps you’re like me and sometimes you wonder what good could ever come from what feels like a sentence to a hostile and unjust work environment? How could having been raised in a broken home yield anything but bitterness and pain? The abortion, the unending series of failed relationships; how can all these things work together for good? Truth is I still can’t see the finished work that is this life. That’s because He is still working His masterpiece, but every now and then through His word, I get a glimpse of the right side of this tapestry and like yellow Sulphur butterflies on lignum-vitae trees, my heart leaps in dance!

This brings me to the second reminder sparked by these whimsical creatures;

Ecc 3:11 – “He has made all things beautiful in His time…”

I don’t know where you find yourself today, whether you seem to be in the summer, winter, spring or fall of your life, whether you feel you’re being broken down or built up. This season finds you mourning loss or growing and gathering; God by His divine providence governs and orders all things according to the counsel of his will.

Perhaps like butterflies while still eggs; you feel unseen, your hurt, fears, and insecurities; hidden. Rest assured you are intimately known by a loving God.

You may have been bruised by those ignorant of the process or just plain mean. Your life through your eyes may look like a colossal mess! Know there is a God who gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. You will be called Oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Like lignum-vitae trees enshrouded in butterflies; for a life yielded to His will, He will make all things beautiful in its time!