I was moving slowly on Monday, so it was afternoon before I took the dog for a walk. It was a nice day, though breezy. The sun was greatly appreciated after all the rain. I didn’t get to the end of our cul-de-sac before noticing that something was strange. Butterflies were everywhere. Hundreds of them, all headed the same direction, or so it seemed. I figured it was the breeze that carried them along. I assumed the recent rains had stirred up the wildlife on the empty hillside across the street. It was a nice moment, so I stopped for a second to take it in.
I picked up the pace again (must get the heart going) and the dog and I were soon at the end of Calle de Suenos, with its expansive view of the Pacific Ocean. And what was there? Butterflies. Still by the hundreds. Dare I say by the thousands? Hmmmm….something bigger than I thought was going on.
We kept pressing forward with our walk. Down the stairs, up the stairs, and up Calle de Suenos well passed where it becomes Crest. The butterflies were still swarming, even a mile away from the house. Wow, something bigger than I thought was going on.
When Christie got home, I asked her if she’d seen any butterflies at the church. Yes, she had. So, this is not just some localized phenomenon from our brushy hillsides. Something even bigger than I thought was going on.
The Nextdoor website was flooded with comments about the butterflies. Apparently, it was all over the Hill on Monday. Hmmmm….something bigger than I thought was going on.
As the week went on, we all discovered what that was (and there were still some butterflies in the yard on Thursday). It was a migration of painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) from the deserts of the Southwestern US and northern Mexico. The last major migration was in 2005, when we had significant rains in our deserts. They were headed from the desert to Oregon and beyond. Before beginning their migration north, the butterflies will lay their eggs in the desert, with caterpillars feeding on vegetation in the desert (which is why having large amounts of rain can be so crucial) and growing through the late winter or early spring before taking to the skies, according to representatives from the National Wildlife Federation.
My guess of hundreds, which had turned to thousands, was more in the realm of billions. Indeed, something bigger than I thought was going on.
But to be honest, that’s often the case in life. I try to get a glimpse of what God is doing in and through the church, and then discover that something bigger than I thought was going on. And that’s exactly why this journey of life together is so amazing. We never know what God’s going to do around the next corner. But this we do know, it is always bigger than we can imagine. I didn’t want to overestimate what I saw on Monday, but clearly, I underestimated the phenomenon. By a bunch.
Let’s not limit God to what we think is happening. He likes to work in the realm of “more than we can ask or think.” Let’s join Him in this amazing journey. Something bigger is always going on.