Monarch Butterflies migrate through Northern America. Millions from all across Canada and America, they migrate to winter over in Mexico, in more or less the same unlikely spot. A remote and inhospitable fifty acres of oyamel pine trees, ten thousand feet up the southwestern flank of Mexico’s Transverse Neovolcanic Mountains.
Most butterflies fly between 40 to 220 miles per day and a rare butterfly is known to have flown 2880 miles. This record, from Brighton, Ontario in Canada, to Mexico for winter and then back to Austin, Texas took place over 7 months. The butterfly was recovered in Aug 1998 – seven months after being tagged! The butterflies are tagged by biologists, scientists and lovers of butterflies, which has provided insight into the migration routes.
What makes it so fascinating is that no single butterfly ever makes the round trip – therefore they cannot be guided by memory. Actually, three or four generations separate those that spend the winter in Mexico and those that come the next winter. They fly north in summer as the weather warms, laying eggs on milkweed as they go, breeding, feeding. So will their children and a few generations later, when the weather gets colder, they will fly south, laying eggs, breeding and feeding as they go. To winter in exactly the same spot in Mexico. How do they know where to go?
Scientists agree that there seems to be no communication amongst the butterflies. There is no training or memory involved in their migration. Their migration every year seems to be totally different, yet they always head in the same direction and reach approximately the same destination. The only common denominator seems to be a change in their environment, or the weather.
The butterflies simply pass on the genetic code to the next generation, laying eggs and dying. But research shows that there is no doubt that the butterflies migrate. Just like the Hebrews leaving Egypt to go to the promised land: the generation that left is not the generation that arrived, the trip taking more than 40 years. How did they reach their destination?
They were led by the hand of God! Similarly, though scientists and researchers have tried to figure out how, the fact that the butterflies reach their final destination every year appears to be the leading of the Hand of God.
So, too each of us, moving towards our destination of heaven is guided along our journey by the Hand of God. God is involved in every step of our lives, every moment, every thought and action. He knows exactly what our past and our future holds and He knows the purpose of it all. He will guide us to our ultimate destination, one day at a time.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Phil 3:20)
Each butterfly is not a single phenomenon, but God guiding them all to their destinations, each generation passing on what they have, their genetic code, to the next generation.
“If I rise on the wings on dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me, you right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:9-10
These butterflies simply fly like God designed them to!
Believers, by simply following God’s guidance in their lives, are guided through eons of time to the destination of heaven, all awaiting the appointed time for the trumpet call (1 Thes 4:16). Some have died, some will still live, but all to be gathered up into heaven where places have been prepared for us (“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2).
Each generation passes on the principles of their faith to the next generation, each generation flies out their life to His glory.
The unity of the butterflies and our unity as the children of God lies in who designed us, and Who still guides us to our ultimate destination.
There is comfort in knowing that although we do not understand the purpose of every step of our journey, God’s right hand guides us to our ultimate destination. We find security in God’s leadership of our lives. Exodus 15:13…
“In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.”
God does not leave us to wander in the wilderness of our lives, instead He leads us in His unfailing love. We who know, understand and trust this love of God, rest in the love He has for us.
Father, I look forward to the day I see You face to face. My final destination is tied up in the promises You have given me in Your word. I do not belong to this world, I belong to You and where You are, in heaven. Thank you that Your love guides me in life and even though I do not understand it all, You are still the author of my life and You know the ending. You have led me as You saw fit, choosing the path motivated by Your love. Help me to trust in your unfailing love.