What you are about to read is scientifically inexplicable. Try as they may, no one can figure it out.
The Eastern Migrating Monarch (Danaus Plexippus) is an anomaly in nature. As stated, it goes through several changes to reach the Imago stage of mature adulthood: egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly--each stage of development having the identical DNA as the one before.
It takes three generations of butterflies to migrate from Mexico to Canada. Each generation lives about four to six weeks, going through the exact same life cycle again and again.
But here is the mind-boggling part. The fourth generation Monarch butterfly—identical in DNA to the previous three generations—flies all the way from Canada to Mexico by itself, living upward of nine months, traveling up to two miles high and averaging 200 miles per day. The Monarch travels over 1,500 miles, occasionally getting blown off course as far as Bermuda, and yet, still is able to find its way back to the exact same 60-mile-radius fir tree forest that its ancestors inhabited four generations prior.
How does the Monarch do it? Not with its own strength! Despite the name, a butterfly is not really designed to fly—but rather to soar. They are built like gliders with small bodies and huge wingspans.
To go the distance, the butterfly rides on the wind currents allowing them to take it further and higher than it could ever go on its own.
In the Bible, the Greek word pneuma and the Hebrew word ruach mean “wind, spirit, and breath.” It could be said that these little creatures soar on the breath of God!
What can we draw from this? Here is the secret: don’t live in your own strength! You, too, can soar on the breath of God. How? By being filled with the Holy Spirit, learning the prayer of praise, and forever turning your heart upward in gratitude.
For all of this to come about, the caterpillar had to be willing to be transformed—are you? Also, the butterfly had to trust that the wind currents would eventually lead it home. The butterfly had to have courage to follow its heart, even though every inch the Monarch was covering was new territory.
I get so inspired when I think of the butterfly heading out to the great unknown on a wing and a prayer.
When I feel God is asking something of me that is beyond my personal ability, I think of the butterfly. I know that if God intends for it to take place, even if it seems impossible in human terms, I need only to trust, be filled with God's spirit. God will make it come to pass.
How do we know that the Monarch does not do this with its own strength? We know because of this surprising fact: the butterfly actually weighs more when it gets to Mexico than it did when it left Canada! Amazing, but true. The Monarch will need its fat stores to live from as it over winters in Mexico.
Did you know this about the prayer of praise? As you praise God, lifting up your voice to him in singing and reading spiritual accolades to him, you actually gain more than you give out! Not only are you giving homage to God, his spirit is filling you up to overflowing. And when you are grateful for all God has done for you, you are humbly acknowledging your total dependance on him.
So let it out. Shout to the Lord. Not because your circumstances are perfect, but because God is! God alone is worthy of our praise. And, as you do it, your heart will be lifted to new heights with him! Why? Because you were born to soar!
This is part five of a six-part series. Read the full series here: