Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Butterfly Blessings for Wounded Hearts"

“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything–and I do mean everything–connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life–a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside. . . .” –from Ephesians 4, The Message

“. . .and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32, NAS

I am fascinated and delighted with butterflies to such a degree that if I’m driving when I see Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico I slow down, park my car on a roadside and observe them until the fluttering parade has advanced south. I am very curious as to how God puts His internal time-clock, radar and compass inside every generation of these fragile creatures with stained-glass designs for wings.

I enjoy butterflies so much that my parents have given me a couple of butterfly rings and other related jewelry. When I wear these butterfly jewelry items, I am reminded of my new spiritual life in Jesus as a Christian. Once I was like the cocooned caterpillar all bound up in my life of sin and darkness, but God gave me a new life and transformed me into a beautiful butterfly creation of His own making.

On January 1, 2003, my uncle Jim died in an Oklahoma City hospital. His family and friends surrounded him with their spoken and yet inexpressible thoughts of love, accompanied by prayers, scriptures and tears as he went to God eternally. Just after Uncle Jim died, I stepped into the hallway with my cellular phone to begin notifying various family members and friends. Before long I found myself standing in front of several plate-glass windows looking north when something caught not only my eye, but my breath also. Could it be a butterfly drifting my way? A butterfly in January? No way! However, since nothing is impossible with God, I watched the floating article with curious anticipation as it seemed to come directly toward me. Just as the wind caught this fluttering object and swirled it upward, I could see it was a leaf taking flight. Several “leafy butterflies” kept me watching in eager expectation, just in case God really did swirl in an actual butterfly amongst the leaves.

After we gathered everything and everyone up from the hospital, I was driving back to my hometown alone, using the solitude to pray for everyone. In my grief, an unexpected emotion of loneliness snuck in. Suddenly I had the distinct impression from God that I should listen to my favorite Christian radio station. Thinking there might be something playing that would comfort me, I tuned in. A song was already in progress and the first words I heard were: “Why are the days so lonely? I wonder where, where can the heart go free? And who will dry the tears that no one sees? There must be someone to share your silent dreams.”
[1] My attention had once again been caught by God since I was indeed crying tears that no one could see. The song continued with: “Caught like a leaf in the wind, looking for a friend, where can you turn? Whisper the words of a prayer, and you’ll find Him there, arms open wide, love in His eyes.”

Caught like a leaf in the wind! Are you kidding me? That’s what I had just seen from the third-floor hospital windows and dismissed it because it wasn’t a butterfly! God can use anything to draw our attention to Him–even a dried-up, brownish, lifeless leaf disguised as a butterfly.
I needed to hear especially the next part of the song on my solitary drive: “Jesus, He meets you where you are; Oh, Jesus, He heals your secret scars. All the love you’re longing for is Jesus, The Friend of a wounded heart.” All our hearts were freshly wounded, and God’s perfect timing allowed me to hear just the song I needed at precisely the moment I needed to hear it in order to remind me of His love for each of us in our family. He even went to the trouble of causing a leaf to dart and flutter in the wind as a butterfly would so that I could have a ”butterfly blessing” from Him to remind me of His promise of eternal life. It was comforting that I’d received such a gentle touch from God in the midst of the painfully harsh trial of death with its heavy-handed sting.

God and heaven seem so much closer when you have recently relinquished one of your family to go there for eternity. Because he was a Christian, Uncle Jim was released from this earthly cocoon of life and now his spirit can freely soar like a butterfly around God’s throne–free from the confining, frustrating struggles of physical pain and suffering due to polio and lung cancer. Heaven–this is where all our hearts truly can go free because God Himself completely and permanently dries our tears that nobody sees.

Maybe now is the moment you need to hear the words of “Friend of a Wounded Heart” in your life. No matter what wound you have, He sees you where you are and is waiting with His arms open wide to love you, dry your tears and hear your silent thoughts of agony and fear. The emptiness and heartfelt pain that you are living in are possibly from fresh wounds on top of old scars. Perhaps your heart is longing for Jesus to snatch you up with His perfect, unfailing love and heal as only He can.

Could it be we have looked only to other wounded hearts of family and friends to meet that need in our broken and spilled-out hearts instead of to our Heavenly Father? It’s not wrong to look to others for love and comfort, but the wounded and gaping hole in our hearts can only be perfectly changed into a whole heart by Jesus and His love!

Jesus is ready to look directly into our eyes with His eyes of love and say “I love you!” as He pulls us into His wide-open arms and holds us securely. Jesus’ own heart was wounded so that His love can make us spiritually whole from our woundings. He’s running to meet us with His nail-scarred feet and reaching out to us with His wounded hands and compassionate heart to show us how much He loves us.

All that any of us need in order to have joy, hope, peace and love flowing through us is Jesus–The Friend of a wounded heart!

[1]Words and music by Claire Cloninger and Wayne Watson. Copyright 1987, Word Music a div. of WORD, INC.

© 11-30-04 by Janet Faye Broyles Edmond, Oklahoma

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