One day last week I was in the garden and noticed a sudden fluttering of butterflies. I don’t know if ‘fluttering’ is the correct term for a collection of butterflies, but if it isn’t, it should be! They were dipping and dancing, enjoying the warmth, showing off their spectacular wings.
I noticed one butterfly in particular. A beautiful tortoiseshell with stunning markings. It was sat on the flowerbed, it’s wings spread wide, just resting there, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. Unusually, nothing deterred this lone butterfly from it’s sun basking. Not me, nor the bouncy puppy I was playing with on the nearby grass. I was really taken by the ability of this creature to just rest and at the same time display its most beautiful side.
My understanding is that most species of butterfly have two sides to their wings. The upper side is beautifully decorated, to attract and appeal to a potential mate. The underside is much more muted, often designed to camouflage the butterfly from predators when its wings are closed. If that tortoiseshell had felt threatened in any way. If its rest had been disturbed. It could have closed its wings to hide itself against the colour of the soil of the flowerbed. And I would not have enjoyed the beauty of its widespread wing display.
Rest in Jesus
God used this little episode to speak something really profound into my heart. Did you know that God offers us a place of rest? A place where we be a peace, where we can give Jesus our anxieties and worries and fears, and choose instead to trust Him and all that He has promised?
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Entering His Rest
How often we forget. We get caught up in our anxieties, we let stress rule in our minds and bodies, we fail to enter the rest He offers. Give me the bad stuff, He says, and take in exchange my peace, my joy, my grace. When we do that. When we can to keep entering His rest, even when tough circumstances surround us and we feel threatened. That is when we display the best side of us. The beautiful side that looks most like Him.
When we forget to take those things to Jesus, when we let the things of life overwhelm us then we are much less beautiful. Like that butterfly closing its wings under threat – our reactions, our responses, our behaviour and words can be much less appealing. We can say things we don’t mean, lash out, complain, criticise, and get trapped into negative ways of thinking. And yet God offers us His rest all of the time.
Restoring our Souls
The Psalmist knew it. (Psalm 23: 1-3) It is God’s heart to lead us into His rest, He wants to restore and revive our souls – our minds wills and emotions. Our part is to allow Him to do that by choosing to enter His rest. It is a thing we must purpose to do, regularly, especially when difficult things threaten us and cause us to worry. Has He not promised to supply all we need? To be our defence? To vindicate us? To protect us? To give us wisdom when we need it? Either we choose to believe what He has promised us, or we don’t.
His rest doesn’t mean doing nothing (although it can sometimes). It is a state of our hearts and minds, a choosing to obey and not worry. A choosing to be thankful and to trust Him. That rested place can continue through all that we do. Jesus offers to share His Yoke – a yoke indicates that there is work to be done – but only the work that is done out of a place of our rest in Him. And in partnership with Him.
When I am at rest in Jesus, then like that butterfly, I display the very best side of me. The side that looks most like Christ. The side that is most attractive to others.
Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.
‘The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022, and her third novel, ‘The Bride’, will be published on 20th October 2023.
More information on Joy, and her books can be found here