The caterpillar emerged from its egg and opened its twelve eyes. It didn’t know what to expect; all it did was to crawl out on its leaf and see what the world was all about. But the leaf turned over, and the caterpillar lost its footing and fell onto the grass. “Wow! That was fun!” it said.
The caterpillar has sixteen legs, but only six of them are true legs. The others assist in holding onto twigs and leaves.
The worm was starving, so it began eating the green things it fell on. He liked grass, but he also ate some big flat things that fell off the trees. Leaves were stiffer and tasted better.
The little guy spent most of its waking hours eating. Over the next week, he crawled all around the yard to experience life, eating every step of the way. Then it discovered a bush – the one he fell from, but didn’t know it. “Wow! If I can get up there, I could see EVERYTHING.”
So it spent the next half hour climbing up the intertwining twigs of that three-foot bush. When it reached the summit, it looked out over the yard. “Wow! I didn’t know I could see the whole world. This is great!”
The little worm had hatched on this bush that was planted in a small enclosure that served as a safe play lot for the four-year-old human. To the worm, this was a huge world; but to an adult human, the 15’ x 15’ play lot surrounded by a six-foot wooden fence was very small.
The caterpillar looked over the world often, and was amazed at the size of it.
After several days it began thinking, “I wonder what’s on the other side of the world?” So it climbed off the bush and began climbing up the six-foot wooden fence to take a look. In a few hours it reached the top. “Wow! There are more worlds to see.”
Then something orange and black floated above its head.
“What are you doing down there?” asked the orange thing.
“I am trying to see other worlds. I’ve been searching my world and ….” The worm suddenly realized that the orange thing was flying.
“Hey! How do you do that? How did you get up there?”
“I am a monarch butterfly, just like you will be in a few days. After you crawl for the last time and wrap yourself in a blanket, you will die. But, don’t worry, you will come back alive. It will be difficult climbing out of the blanket because it gets real hard after you die. But when you come back alive, you will look different – like me. The world you know now is only a tiny part of the bigger world. You will fly like I am, and you will like it! Well, I have to go now. I am flying with hundreds of my friends to a far-away place. Don’t forget what I said. Bye.”
“Wow! I didn’t know any of that. How did she figure it out? Well, I will think about that later because I am starving!”
About five days later, the caterpillar began feeling sick. Then it thought, “Maybe what the butterfly said is happening. I better go to the bush and start making a blanket.”
So it did. It was in the pupa stage, or chrysalis, for ten to twelve days. And it had a difficult time breaking out of its hard blanket – like the butterfly said. But that terrible ordeal was planned by God in order to make its wings strong, and able to fly.
We’re like caterpillars. We crawl around, viewing life like the worm does, thinking this physical life is all there is. We’re oblivious to the reality “beyond the fence.” But our world is very small, and God wants us to see “the bigger world” from his perspective – more like the butterfly.
The secret to understanding reality is to die to ourselves. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (NKJV).
Dying to ourselves means we learn to know God and put his desires ahead of our own, and do what he wants us to do. Then we begin to see and understand from his perspective. And at the end of life, we fly to the bigger world: God’s home in heaven.
And that’s only the beginning!