My Caterpillar Nursery and God’s Purposes

One day last week my dad was showing me what he had growing in his garden. He pointed where the parsley was and it really was where the parsley HAD been. Wasn’t much left and the muncher was still at it. It was a caterpillar that I knew had to be some kind of butterfly in the making, but I couldn’t remember what kind eats parsley. I brought it to my house and looked it up online.  It was a swallowtail caterpillar. There was something on the page about tomato hornworms becoming moths and I thought if I found another one of those in my garden, I’d keep it, too.

I set up a nursery in a jar for this pretty little critter and began feeding it parsley from my herb garden.  The next day I found a hornworm and set him up, too. The swallowtail caterpillar needed a stick to attach to and the hornworm caterpillar needed dirt in the bottom of the jar. It was a job feeding the hornworm.  It’s amazing how much he eats!

After a couple days the caterpillar got on the stick but not on top like he had done before. This time he attached to the bottom of it.  And he tucked his head under. Later in the day, he was only holding on with his feet at both ends of his body. Then, later he was only holding on by one end, with his head totally away from the stick.  I have no idea how he did that. About that time the hornworm had disappeared and I knew he had to be under the dirt. According to what I read, he was supposed to be making a cocoon. I could tell he was moving about since every so often the topography in the jar looked different.

The next day the caterpillar on the stick was about half chrysalis going from his head to the middle of his body. The second half still looked like a worm. There were two strands of really fine material that looked like spider web attaching him to the stick. I thought he was probably dead. He wasn’t, but the only way I could tell is that he gradually totally changed.  A few days later the hornworm caterpillar had moved to a spot at the edge of the jar and I could see him. I didn’t see what I expected. I thought he would be spinning a white cottony cocoon but he was turning brownish-red and it looked like a hard covering that started at his head and went about halfway down his body. I thought he might be dead till I saw him flinch. Later, he was completely brownish-red.

While I watched this process (I’m now waiting for them to hatch) I thought about how sometimes I make plans and I think I know what I want to do and when I want to do it. It can get frustrating when the process seems to be taking longer than I wanted it to or even gets derailed.  Sometimes it looks like nothing is happening but just as I couldn’t watch the changes to chrysalis and cocoon happen by minutes but only by hours, God doesn’t always move quickly either. There’s this thing, this pride thing, that says, “Can’t you make it happen?” and there’s this other thing that kicks in – this deep-down thing – that reminds me that man makes his plans but God guides his steps. God doesn’t measure success the same way we do and sometimes it looks like it’s all over. Well, sometimes the plan I made may be all over. I expected the hornworm caterpillar to be making a white cottony cocoon, but I was wrong. I thought those guys were toast a couple times, but they weren’t. I don’t know how that fellow stayed on the stick holding on by two toes, but he did.

God knows what He is doing.  He’s the King of the Universe, after all. Just because I plan something or start something that either doesn’t happen or has a different outcome than what I wanted, doesn’t mean there was no planned purpose in my planning or doing. God has a purpose in it. He numbered the hairs on my head and He guides my steps even as I am unaware sometimes of His presence. He’s always with me, and He’s good, and He loves me and is doing what is best for me. What He’s doing that is for my “good” as it says in Romans, is forming the image of Christ in me.  My purpose is just as it says in The Westminster Confession – “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” That takes me to the next thing I’ve been mulling over. Life is an adventure and God is to be trusted. More to come….

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