Yellow Butterflies

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
—Psalm 46:10

I’ve read about people who accepted the Lord and were instantly saved from catastrophic illness or from a life of sin or from debt. My Christian journey didn’t begin that way. It happened slowly. God led me through baby steps and taught me to listen patiently and with all of my senses.

The first time I heard God’s voice, I thought it would always be easy to know His will. I thought I could ask Him what I should do and He would immediately tell me. Instead, I found that often He is silent. In the weeks and months that followed my salvation, I cried out endlessly to Him—but He said nothing.

I vowed that I wouldn’t give up hope. Having heard His voice in my inner self was supernatural enough for me to believe that God was real. After all, I hadn’t made up the words I heard on the bluff or near the prairie. Surely it wasn’t coincidence that made the sun shine, as God said it would, on the day He saved me. These things alone were enough to keep me believing. I decided that if I searched hard enough, I would find the golden secret to hearing His voice whenever I wished.

I looked in the local Christian bookstore for answers. I bought books about prayer, and I read them as quickly as I could. I read the Bible, something I hadn’t done for years. I concentrated on what Jesus taught about prayer. I did everything I could think of to please God, and yet He remained silent. Finally, in desperation, I went back to the bluff. I sat there on the grass looking out at the water, waiting for something miraculous to happen. Then, completely frustrated and at the edge of doubt, I said, “Okay, God. If you’re not going to talk to me then maybe Nevell was right—maybe I’m just not worth it.”

That thought had only formed inside of my head when a small, yellow butterfly landed on my knee. I whisked it away, got up, and walked. As I walked, the butterfly flew alongside me. At first I thought it was a coincidence. Then it became strange. If I changed direction, so did the butterfly. If I walked faster, she stayed with me. Then, after a few minutes, the most incredible thing happened. A dozen yellow butterflies joined the first. They fluttered about, seemingly interested in nothing else but me. At that moment God whispered five simple words, “I am with you always.” For the rest of that summer, yellow butterflies became a symbol of His love. I saw them everywhere: on stationery, greeting cards, posters, and in newspaper ads. They flew in front of my car, and they fluttered outside my office window. But the most remarkable butterfly sighting was yet to come.

One day, I felt God nudging my spirit. He seemed to be telling me that it was time to move on. The apartment building that I lived in was going condo, and I had the choice of buying my unit or finding another place to live. God said, “Go.”

I began working with a realtor to find a house. Nothing I saw was right—too big, too small, too expensive, too far away. Then, one afternoon, she called to say that she had found the perfect house for me. She read the address aloud. It was in a neighborhood near my apartment building, one that I was familiar with, and I knew that I couldn’t afford a house there. “Just check it out,” she said. “This one feels right.”

The house was in a subdivision of solid, brick homes. There were tidy yards and flower gardens everywhere on cool, quiet, tree-lined streets. I found the address and parked out front. Everything about the house was perfect—the cream-colored brick, the landscaping, the quaint wooden shutters. I can’t afford this, I thought. But then I saw it. A yellow butterfly! She was the centerpiece of a stained-glass sun catcher hanging in the front window of the house. She was big and bold with outstretched wings. “Okay, Lord,” I said. “Show me the way.”

After that, things happened quickly. The house was more than I could afford, but I placed a bid anyway. It was rejected. I placed a second bid, and that one was rejected, too. I was ready to give up until, on the very morning I’d planned to call my realtor to tell her to forget it, the Wisconsin State Government issued low-interest financing for first-time homebuyers. I qualified, and my third bid was accepted. That was twenty-five years ago, and I still live in that perfect home that God chose for me.

The butterfly sightings have decreased through the years, but once in a while, God will send a yellow butterfly in an unlikely time or place as a gentle reminder that He is with me. The butterflies teach me that often our Lord speaks without words.

Just as in Biblical times there are signs and wonders today, but in our hectic world, with all of the noise and confusion, it’s difficult to recognize them. We must be quiet and look for them, and we have to trust God to help us see them. Often they are small and draw little attention. God doesn’t shout to us, “Look!” Instead, He remains silent wanting us to explore beyond His words. He might speak in the wind or in the autumn leaves or in the moonlight. He might speak through a rainbow or a gentle spring shower or through a sleeping kitten nestled in a lap. When God is silent, it doesn’t mean that He’s left us. He’s just asking us to be patient and quiet. He’s asking us to look deeper into His creation to discover the miracles that He sends to us every day.

Dear Lord:

Help me to be still before you, patient and quiet, that I might see your signs and wonders.

©2009 Jean Fischer
All rights reserved.


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