The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



It had been a long day. A long week. A long two months. My body was tired. My mind hurt. My soul was worn out. And I had another night meeting to attend. After supper I dropped into a lounge chair in the back yard.

The warmth of the late afternoon sun was so comforting. Leaning back and looking into the sky, I was suddenly caught up in the shapes of the drifting clouds. How long since I'd taken the time to watch a flying turtle ... there, the head of a dog ... over there, with a little imagination, the head of an ancient chief.

Suddenly a butterfly started circling me. Flitted away, came back. After many trips around, it swooped in and landed on my ankle.

With wings folded, it was a rather unattractive little creature. Mottled gray, black and white, it looked like a piece of tree bark on my leg. It sat for long seconds and then opened its wings to me--revealing the sheer beauty of a red admiral, velvet black with a brilliant orange stripe and white dots on wingtip. "What a feast God brings us," I thought. Just then a black bird flew low and, in a flash, the red admiral disappeared.

Another minute, it was back. Again--circle close, higher up, brush my shoulder, around my toes, to my chest. Then it faced me, eyes on my eyes, wings folded and shuddering. Was it nervous, afraid?

The butterfly laid its wings on my chest and opened its full splendor to me. Listening with my soul, I could hear it whisper, "Here, my tired brother, let my beauty lift your spirit. I offer you my loveliness to fill your empty cup."

For long minutes it stayed still. As did I. Then silently it flew away. "My little sister, you did," my heart called out. "You did."

How mysteriously God heals.


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