Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, Monterey, California
photography via my iPhone
Siesta Scripture Memory Team Verse #3
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds..."
James 1:2 NIV
While Anthony was off on a long run, I headed to the hidden sanctuary for Monarch butterflies in Monterey. Anthony and I were enjoying a long weekend in Monterey... partly celebrating his birthday and partly vacationing away from the cloudy city we call home. And although I had been warned that it would not be sunny in Monterey... the weather man said different... and we enjoyed a drive along the coast in a convertible as well as walks along the beach.
But on Saturday, I was on my own... and thought I might visit a haven for butterflies instead of a bowl full of fish at the aquarium. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the unassuming grove. Pretty much like someone's backyard. No fanfare. And not many butterflies. But there was a blossoming cherry tree and about 10 butterflies decided to play tag while I stood and watched. Not having my photographer with me... I was on my own with my cellphone camera... hoping to catch a butterfly up close.
Since there were so few butterflies, I tried to capture (on my camera, of course) a butterfly. Even begging the Lord to let me catch... just one. But it was not to be... and so I just started taking as many photos as I could not knowing if I would catch any... and trying to not be disappointed.
It wasn't until later that I realized that I had caught one in flight. Beautiful. Colorful. Just one. And it made my heart content that my little journey was not in vain...
Vain. We want to know that our struggles are not in vain. We are faced with trials of many kinds... and we balk at the thought that we should be grateful for them... to consider them with pure joy. Seriously? How do we do that? I don't want to face trials. And I most definitely do not think trials and joy should be in the same sentence. I like to be comfortable. But I do admit that I also want to be joyful. Why can't I have both?
And just like the caterpillar who is destined to sprout wings cannot develop into a beautiful butterfly without being enveloped in a cocoon... I cannot experience joy... pure joy... until I experience the hardship of the trial.
"We also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:3-5 NIV 1984
Hope. Joy. Those are what I want. But to get there... to truly experience pure joy, I am going to face trials. And truth be told... I am going to go through those trials no matter what. With or without joy and hope. But for me, I have determined that I will (with the Lord's help!) face my circumstances (including my depression) with the thought that in the end... I will not be disappointed. So that I will be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4).
I am struggling in my cocoon,
but I don't want to come out too soon.
Knowing that hope and joy are mine
and although it takes some time...
God will see me through
as I reach my wing to you.