It was late October. I was setting on the seventh floor balcony of a dear friend’s condo on the beach in Destin, Florida. The sun was bright and warm as I gazed lazily toward the gulf. I became aware of a constant stream of Monarch Butterflies passing by. The old Biology teacher in me awoke and I remembered the amazement in my student’s eyes as they learned about the Monarch Butterfly Migration.
The Monarchs begin their southern migration September to October. Eastern and northeastern populations, originating in southern Canada and the United States, travel to overwintering sites in central Mexico in November. Then they begin their northern migration in March. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip. Female monarchs lay eggs for a subsequent generation during the northward migration. Four generations are involved in the annual cycle. This massive movement of butterflies has been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world”. I was witnessing part of this amazing event right before my eyes.
As is so often the case, a life lesson presented itself to me while I paused for a moment of reflection. I thought, I have something in common with the Monarch Butterfly. It is on a pilgrimage to fulfill God’s created purpose and so am I. It is pausing here for a brief period of time before its journey across the expanse of water between this shore and its final destination. These days of preparation are critical before it takes wing for the crossing. My stay here on earth is also my preparation time before I wing my way home.
The Monarch has a homing instinct that guides it. Man also has a homing impulse nestled within. In man, it’s called the ‘soul’. The homing call is never fully erased, even by the most grievous of sins. In Psalm 116:7, a pilgrim on his way back from captivity in Babylon sings, “Return unto rest, O my soul.” There is no rest for the soul except in God. St. Augustine said, “We came forth from Him, and we are homesick until we return.” Like the Monarch, we pause for a brief time to prepare for our journey and then we take our flight.
The words of the gospel song ‘I’ll Fly Away’ (by Albert E. Brumley) echoes in my mind:
Some bright morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away
To that home on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away
May I ask how your preparation for this eternal event is coming? Do you know the way home? Thomas asked Jesus how he could know the way to heaven. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). If you know Jesus, you will know the way home!
Prayer: Lord, may my days of preparation here be pleasing in Your sight. When You call, I want to be ready to fly away to Your celestial shore.
~ Brother Roy