Ladybug, Ladybug

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
—Proverbs 3:6 (NIV)

The ladybug got her name in the Middle Ages when she was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, also known as “Our Lady;” hence the name “Ladybug.” I’ve always liked these little orange and black insects. I find them to be friendly, unlike flies, mosquitoes, and wasps. Perhaps I like them so much because of the name. “Ladybug” has a certain sense of aristocracy and decorum. You know exactly what to expect from her.

Ladybugs rest on the rocks that line the Lake Michigan shore. Sometimes you’ll see hundreds of them on a single rock at one time. It’s a sight to behold—a shimmering orange puddle in the middle of a drab concrete boulder. They congregate there as if to make plans. Then they fly off to wherever God sends them.

Near the shore, there’s a narrow stretch of prairie. Milkweed plants and dandelions grow there along with ragweed, goldenrod, and crown vetch. It’s a good spot for ladybug watching. The path through the prairie is rough and unpaved. I found it during one of my walks, and I’ve made good use of it. Not many people know about it, and that’s a good thing. It remains in its natural state, untouched except by those who respect it for what it is.

The prairie is a mix of new growth and dried up remnants. Sometimes, the property owner uses a controlled fire to burn off the old and make way for the new. The aftereffect is a charred, forbidding landscape with the lingering scent of charcoal. It’s a sad sight, and you would vow it means nothing but death and decay, but from this charred place new plants pop up from their roots and come back more beautiful than before.

It was there that I found the ladybug. She was perched atop a long blade of prairie grass that had somehow survived the fire. The wind blew hard, and the grass was swinging back and forth with the ladybug clinging to it for dear life. I worried for her. I wondered if she had the strength to hold on. If she lost her grip, I was certain that her tiny body couldn’t possibly withstand the wind. I could coax her onto my finger, maybe. I could move her to a safer place, somewhere lower and out of the breeze. As I bent down and extended my right hand toward her, I heard a familiar inner voice, “Don’t touch.” Surely, God didn’t want me to leave the ladybug in this perilous state! I ignored the warning. I put my finger next to her, but she made no effort to climb onto it. Then I tried to help her by cupping my left hand next to her and giving her a little shove with my right index finger. When I did that, the wind caught her and tore her from her perch. After a minute or two of searching, I found her laying upside-down, her lifeless body covered with soot.

The ladybug was dead, and I was guilty. If only I had listened and not touched. But I meant well—Didn’t that count for something? Doesn’t meaning well make a difference to God?

Often when we are by ourselves, the Lord’s voice enters our thoughts. Whether walking a nature path, driving a car, or trying to fall asleep, He speaks softly to us. He spoke to me that day as I mourned the ladybug. This time His lesson was about trust.

I was in the middle of a disagreement with a friend. She was not speaking to me, and it bothered me terribly. I’d tried everything I could think of to resolve our conflict, but she was determined that our friendship was over. I prayed about it often, asking God to bring forgiveness and reconciliation, but nothing happened. Stubbornly, I refused to give up. I was determined to restore our friendship.

As I thought about the ladybug, I realized that there are some things that God doesn’t want us to touch. The ladybug belonged to Him, and when I fought against His will, the result was a disaster. I did what I thought was best, and the ladybug died. The same was true for the problem with my friend. In my prayers, I had asked God to resolve it. Yet, I wasn’t willing to accept the possibility that maybe He didn’t want the friendship restored. Rebelliously, I continued to push Him to resolve our differences, all the while shoving the persistent thought from my head that His answer was no. Using the ladybug, God had answered my question about whether or not meaning well made a difference. He showed me that I hadn’t trusted Him to do what was best for me.

In the years since, I’ve learned to live by faith. When there’s a situation I want to control, I stop and think about whether or not my intervention is the right thing to do. I listen for God’s voice, and then I try to do what He says, instead of what I want.

The ladybug was a sacrifice for my learning that God is in control. He is the Wonderful Counselor, the One who can save all things. But it must be His choice to do so. To receive His best, we must be willing to trust Him and accept His perfect will, especially when His answer is no.

Dear Heavenly Father: Help me to learn to trust you. In all things, help me to stop and listen for your voice so that your will might be done in my life.

©2009 Jean Fischer
All rights reserved


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