Little Monster found some swallowtail caterpillars on my fennel plant this week. She petted them, transported them, and talked to them. She was excited each day to go to the garden and search for her new friends. But now they have changed into their chrysalis form. In the morning there were three wriggly caterpillars, and by afternoon they had changed. To Monster, it’s like the caterpillars died. She can’t play with them anymore. They don’t crawl around on her fingers. They just stay in their chrysalis, hanging on to the fennel. We know that they are about to become something even more beautiful. They will soon be butterflies fluttering about the garden. But I’m not sure that Little Monster believes it yet. She doesn’t understand how something can change forms so drastically.
At Easter time we celebrate the life and resurrection of Jesus. He came down from heaven and lived among the people. His body was fully human. During Passover, He had His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He took the place of the sacrificial lamb. He was tested. Then He was betrayed and crucified. He died. He was placed in a tomb. His friends came to visit Him, but He was no longer there. A beautiful thing happened – He was alive again!
In Grieving the Child I Never Knew, Kathe Wunnenberg states: “What we believe about God during those times of uncertainty will influence how we respond. If we believe that our circumstance is something Satan slipped by God when He wasn’t looking, we will plummet to the depths of despair. But if we view the God of the Bible as sovereign, supreme, and the One who calms the waters, we will be buoyed with hope. We will see purpose, even though we may not know now what the purpose is.” How true this is. God is the author of our lives. God also is Lord over death. He raised His Son from the grave. And so He will also raise us.
In tragedy, we learn things about ourselves that we didn’t know before. I didn’t know that my faith was so strong. I didn’t know that I could hold steadfast to the promise. I didn’t know how loved my family is in the community. I didn’t know that we had so many people we could lean on. I didn’t know that my body could recover so quickly. I didn’t know I had such strength deep within me. I didn’t know that farming could be so therapeutic. I didn’t know that my words could be healing. I have found beauty all around me. I have a beautiful life. But I know that there is more to come.
Philippians 3:20-21 (The Message) says, “But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthly bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.” There is beauty from our ashes. We will become more glorious than we can even imagine.
Just as Little Monster doesn’t completely comprehend the changing forms from caterpillar to butterfly, we may not fully understand the change at resurrection. But what we have is a promise. A promise of resurrection. A promise of the communion of saints. Indeed, in Heaven we will be rejoined with our loved ones. With all the saints who have passed before. With our forever babies. I have an image of Jesus in a rocking chair, holding baby Faith for me until I can get there and rock her myself. She is more beautiful than when I held her in my own earthly arms. I have peace knowing that someday I will see her in all her glory.