Across the vast, open flat-lands, the setting sun cast radiant ripples of iridescent orange across the rows of lacy magenta clouds with a background of deepening blue. As I drove down the highway, enamored with the beauty and sense of peace in the stillness, half of me wanted to pull over to get a good picture of the scene. But, the other half of me strongly objected to this idea – this sunset was the kind that was too beautiful for me to truly capture on camera well enough to show just how vast the sky was and just how iridescent the colors were. The grandeur of the experience just couldn’t be appreciated as well by anyone who hadn’t seen it in person – so for nearly an hour, I just enjoyed the vibrant display myself and reflected on the goodness of the God who painted it in the heavens. Then I did pull over and take a picture of the last part. Sometimes the best way to enjoy the beauty and gifts we have been given is not to cling to them, but to hold them in an open hand, enjoying each one for what they are and watching as they come and go.
We are human, and therefore have a tendency to want to control the way things go in the world around us. Right after God created the universe He gave humans dominion over His creation – as trustworthy sub-rulers under His authority. However, this original noble desire has become skewed and misused by the corruption of sin, brought into the world by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Now we tend to two extremes of either overbearing control or neglect of whatever resources, gifts, and beauty we have been given to take care of.
When I went to the Butterfly Palace in Branson, Missouri this summer, the lady at the entrance to the indoor butterfly aviary gave us her usual short speech on the rules. One of the rules was not to try to handle the butterflies. While touching a butterfly’s wings will not instantly make it unable to fly or live (they frequently loose scales, and some butterfly species naturally have clear sections of their wings with no scales), they are still rather delicate and should not be roughly handled by people who don’t really know how to hold them. While it can be very enlightening to occasionally study a butterfly specimen still and up-close, the point of that is to better understand and appreciate butterflies as a whole so that we can better marvel at the ones that are still flying.
Butterflies were meant to fly and be a glory to God – plain and simple. Sometimes that means letting go and only getting to enjoy that one in particular for a short time. We were all designed to bring glory to God too, and sometimes following wherever He leads means letting go of the people, places, things, or opportunities. There are definitely times when we do need to cling to and fight for what we have or believe, but ultimately we need to release everything God has given us back to Him. Passionately pursue Him and cling to the Person that He is, enjoying the gifts and beauty He gives, even if it’s just for a season.
“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” ~ Romans 12:2
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6