A few years back when we were living in Tillamook, Oregon, I began a strict regime to get myself in better shape. I lost over 65 pounds by changing my focus, correcting my eating habits, and walking everyday. My morning walks took me on the road that ran along side the Trask River. I used this time not only for exercise, but to commune with nature and to fellowship with God.
One crisp fall morning I was astonished to see what seemed like hundreds of brown and black woolly caterpillars crossing the road. Some were going from the left side of the road to the right. Then a little further on I located a few hurrying from the right side to the left. I don’t know what butterfly eventually evolves from these cute little bugs, and for the purpose of this writing it is really not important. What fascinated me was their dedication and drive to get across the road. Why they were crossing the road I can only guess.
Couldn’t we learn a lesson from these cute little fuzzy creatures? Here is a bug smaller than the size of my little finger, all alone on a personal perilous journey. Cars and trucks were also on a journey on the same road, unaware of the mini life lesson playing out on the asphalt. I watched the approach of a caterpillar only to squirm as it coincided with the approach of a car. The car passed me, its tires only inches from the small creature. But the bugs focus was so totally absorbed in its mission, that it did not even slow down or hesitate; continuing on with it’s chosen path. Sometimes, the little path of the tiny “woolies” would take them right over the top of their not so lucky travel buddies. Still they marched on, and on, and on.
I thought of some of my life’s journey, such as my journey to loose weight and be healthy. If I had been as unwavering as the caterpillar I would have long ago reached and accomplished my goals. When our journey in life gets tough, do we stop or slow down or completely give up and change our course? What about other areas of our lives? Our relationships with our children or our spouse? Am I solid and unwavering in my commitment to them? Am I totally focused on being what God has set out for me to be? Like the caterpillar, will I continue on the path with my little feet going as fast as possible in the direction I know to be true? Or will I let my fear of facing the future keep me from even trying? If I give up and stay on the wrong side of the road I cannot blame the outcome on anyone but myself.
God calls us to serve Him, and to use the abilities and talents He has graciously gifted us with. We must stay focused on the road and the destination. The way to do that is to look to Jesus as our map and seek it out in His word. He has set a course for us to follow that allows us to see only the straightness of the road before us, not the scary things that are going on around us.
This reminds me of Peter, when Jesus called him out to walk on the water. For a moment he totally shut out the height of the waves and the roaring of the wind, because he was totally focused only on Jesus. When his focus shifted to the things of the world going on around him, his mind told him that what he was doing was impossible to accomplish and he began to sink. The lesson is very simple, but, there’s more. Even though Peter failed and lost his focus, Jesus was there to save him. Jesus quietly and calmly brought Peter out of the tumult of the storm and safely back into the boat. He can and will do the same for us.
Did all of the caterpillars make it safely across the road? No, I think not. But the ones that at least tried and accomplished their mission were rewarded on the other side.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and protector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2