You have heard the expression “Never judge a book by its cover.” What about “never judge a butterfly by its cocoon!”?!
Seriously, if you know anything about butterflies you know the cocoon houses a beautiful butterfly. The cocoon is the most important part of developing the beauty of a butterfly. It is also the single most suffocating, dark and lonely experience a worm will have. Wait. Worm? Yes, the beautiful Monarch butterfly you see darting flower to flower was first a worm (also called a caterpillar), followed by being held captive in a tightly wrapped cocoon, of its own making. Remember that…
God always uses nature to teach us valuable life lessons.
My friend in Michigan posted these pictures that she and her son took of the actual metamorphosis of a butterfly. Remarkable to actually see behind the walls of its dark cocoon, and to get a tiny glimpse of what is happening from the inside out. Metamorphosis is one of life’s great mysteries.
The cocoon experience from the butterfly’s perspective
A butterfly cocoon is a silky case spun by the caterpillar itself, and composed of the larvae of insects or of itself. The verb definition of cocoon may surprise you, “To envelop or surround in a protective or comforting way.” The cocoon that is dark, lonely, and suffocating is actually the key to maturity and completion for the caterpillar. The cocoon is a have to thing! It is part of the process, part of the journey from an immature caterpillar to a fully mature developed butterfly.
In essence a caterpillar makes its cocoon out of its own self. It is its metamorphosis – which by actual definition is, “An insect or amphibian in the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distant stages. A change of the form or nature of a thing or a person into a completely different one by natural or supernatural means.” All I can say here is WOW!
What does that look like for human?
We as humans all come as unfinished, immature versions (rough drafts maybe?) of ourselves. We all need to find our own way and forge our own path. No matter what we are taught about how to live our lives the choices are still our own. Thus, we all will experience some form of self-journey or solo flight. Yes – a metamorphosis.
If you see someone struggling with any kind of life malfunction, addiction, failure, or their own mess, do not judge. They are spinning their own cocoon which though it will be dark, lonely and suffocating, it will save them. We each eventually come face to face with our own selves. This is where we grow up and mature and change. The process will always look different but the outcome or the goal is the same. We hope the outcome of the cocoon experience is the same – the goal is maturity and completion. The journey of a human is in stages from child to youth to adult, and the hope is that the journey will make us completed, mature, and whole.
What does the Bible say?
The Bible says we see “through a glass darkly…” which means we see life through a blurred vision or obscurity. This speaks of our maturity process – we can’t see the end from the beginning, and so we have to walk it out. “For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face (with ourselves); now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
These cocoon pictures spoke clearly to me that when we view someone in their present visible state, and it appears that they are so far from success, maturity or perfection, we have no idea what kind of a dark cocoon their soul is wrapped in. We have NO idea the beauty of the monarchy that God is creating behind the scenes. We have no idea the end of their story. Do. Not. Judge. Don’t do it!
Monarch is defined as a king, queen, or emperor – a crowned head!
A cocoon isn’t like some new residence a caterpillar chooses to live in – it is in its DNA to spin the cocoon itself, one thread at a time. He invests his whole self into it – literally. He weaves it strand by strand by strand until he is so tightly wrapped in the cocoon that there is nowhere else to go. This is it for the caterpillar – endure or die. Ironically also, the caterpillar will become who he is meant to be before he breaks free! It is his journey – no one can bust open the cocoon hoping to free the butterfly earlier or quicker – this would cause it to die. This is all attributed to the perfect timing of a loving Creator. “He has made all things beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
The ‘fight to finish’ happens from the inside out.
The cocoon though stuffy, compressed, rigid, dark and lonely is also referred to as comforting. How can this be? In my own opinion and thought process born from my own cocoon experience, the comfort is the relationship formed with the God of the cocoon itself – it will be the best and worst of times as you find yourself totally alone with Him.
If God so carefully selected a way for a simple insect to become a chief monarch among its own kind; then how much more will He transform and “perfect all that concerns us and not forsake the works of His hands.” (Psalm 138:8)
Image Source – Tatiana and Brayden Cremeans