There was a funny song years ago by Simon and Garfunkel which was called, “At the zoo”. It went through all the animals at the zoo and with things like “Zebras are reactionaries, antelopes are missionaries”, things like that.
But then, strangely, the Bible does say that everything means something. Paul said “The invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” (Romans 1:20) Jesus is called in one place “the Sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2). Satan is called the Serpent and Dragon. We are God’s sheep. And on and on.
So this morning when I was out in the park, something happened and I knew that it probably was significant or had some meaning but I didn’t get it right away.
I was sitting there on the bench and then right in front of me was this worm or caterpillar, seemingly suspended in the air. Then it moved downward a little. Then again. And I realized it had some kind of thread like a spider that was suspending it in the air that had been attached to a branch of a tree above me. The caterpillar kept lowering itself to the ground and final reached it. I of course couldn’t see the thread that had been coming out of the caterpillar as it was so thin and transparent so that it was almost impossible to see. The caterpillar crawled off. So I was sitting there and I asked the Lord, “What does that all mean?”
Most people probably don’t have thoughts like that. But through experience I’ve learned that often you can get some significance from things like that. I wrote a story a while back about “Hawks and Doves” where these two birds almost flew into me on a walk. That happened about 100 yards away from where this did.
So I asked the Lord to please show me what, if any, significance could be there for this caterpillar with the invisible thread coming out of him as he lowered himself to the ground.
Here are the thoughts that came to me. We are like that caterpillar. Isaiah 41:14 talks about “you worm, Jacob”. That invisible thread that gets us across great gulfs, from the tree branch to the ground and seems to suspend us miraculously in thin air is the Lord. He’s in us and as we let Him out, we are swept along His thread. It’s strong to hold us but it’s also so tiny and mostly invisible. But also it’s sticky and it just kept coming out of that caterpillar effortlessly and enough till he got to his destination.
But then I thought, at the end of the caterpillar’s life on earth, eventually that same thread is what will be wrapped around the caterpillar and form it’s cocoon. It will be his casket, binding him to his death. But then, out of that cocoon which the caterpillar made from that thread that had helped him all his life, it will burst forth at the end of winter into a butterfly or a moth. From the death of being a caterpillar or wrapped within a cocoon, it will appear suddenly as a new and totally different life. But the silver thread that was there for the caterpillar during its life was also there at its death, to envelope it and provide a casket of darkness and protection where the miracle of transformation takes place and it comes out as a butterfly.
We who have the Lord have that thread within us, helping us bridge impossible gaps when we need it, helping us travel places we otherwise couldn’t. Or even seemingly suspending us in mid air. It’s inside of us. We don’t understand it all, as certainly that caterpillar didn’t understand it. I wonder if that caterpillar had to do something like “yield” in order to continue to let itself descend lower and lower to the ground, by continuing to let out that magic thread within it?
Like Simon and Garfunkel said, “something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo.” Or at the park. Or anywhere you have your spiritual antenna up and your eyes opened to all the wonderful world of truth and beauty that’s all around us and in a sense speaking to us. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day it utters truth and night unto night it shows knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19: 1-3)