We have a black swallowtail caterpillar. I found it in our rue plant. It was already fairly big, and it is forming it’s chrysalis as I write this post. I have raised dozens of these little caterpillars which are extremely common in our area. I’m quite familiar with their life cycle now. In a couple of weeks, our lowly caterpillar will emerge as a new creature. Its life as a caterpillar will be over and its life as a butterfly will begin. Everything in this world is a cycle of death and new life.
Today I sat with my boys and watched a series of videos of the last week of the Savior’s life, the last supper, the suffering in the garden, the betrayal, the trial, and the execution of our Lord. I thought of how disturbing the scene was; the Son of God in all his purity and goodness, judged and condemned by people consumed with the devil’s bile, then not only murdered, but tortured, humiliated, and defiled. How could I watch this scene play out? How could I stand to witness such evil? Because I know from many repetitions what the end of the story will bring; a glorious triumph and resurrection. My faith in the resurrection is the only thing that makes the story of the death of the Savior bearable.
I’ve read the summaries of the Mueller report. I haven’t read the entire thing. I’ve spent several days pondering on, not only the report’s conclusions, but on the reactions of others to the report. The report itself doesn’t tell us anything we shouldn’t already know. We have an amoral man as our President, a man who knows no boundaries besides force, a man who cannot be trusted with power. We knew these things, or should have known them, long ago. And yet, there is no consensus of the majority to impeach him. We are on the precipice of history and everything hangs on our willingness to stand against corruption and hold the powerful to account, but we haven’t the conviction to do it.
Our national will is soft, our convictions like clay. We are tired of leading the world. We have taken the gifts of our Lord and they have made us fat and lazy so that we are no longer worthy of them. We condemn the innocent and exalt the guilty. We call good evil and evil good. How can His hand remain with us? How can He continue to pour out his blessings upon us in our sin? He can’t, and he won’t.
Consider the division that existed at the time of the Master. He enters the city of Jerusalem to Messianic shouts, palm fronds, and children proclaiming that he is the Son of God. There are masses of people praising him and celebrating the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies. Then days later he is taken before the people who then cry “Crucify Him!” How can this be? How can one city have two such extreme views of the same man? I never understood it until Donald Trump was elected. We are them. Half of the country is saying he is God’s chosen leader, and the other half is saying he is unworthy to remain in office. Which is it? Who can discern? Not enough of us, I fear.
And so our nation will perish, like the caterpillar whose insides melt within the chrysalis. We will enter a season of change so dramatic that I think we will emerge from it completely transformed. God created the caterpillar. He designed the transformation, every stage of the metamorphosis is known to him. I imagine that he knew at this nation’s founding that this would take place. The trouble is, I don’t know. I only see the decay and rot of our national character; the destruction of what was once bright and beautiful.
When the Savior was being crucified, I can’t imagine the terror and despair of his disciples, his family, and his friends. I shutter to think of how dark the world would seem after that great light was extinguished in such a barbaric and traumatic way. How could they have lived through the next three days with the memories of his final moments etched into their brains, replaying again and again?
And yet, God’s design was not complete. He knew what his disciples did not understand, that death would come before resurrection, that evil would triumph before righteousness would. There must be a death before there is a rebirth. Satan would not win the day, for the Master would take up his life again, and no man would have the power to take it from him again. In his resurrected form, he guides his followers as he spreads his gospel across the world today. There is no language, no nation, and no barriers that will keep the Master from finding and gathering his sheep. There will be a gathering.
As I watch this transformation happen, I keep my faith firmly planted in my Savior’s grace. I say with William Clayton who wrote Come, Come Ye Saints:
And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!
I don’t know what exactly the future will bring with regards to my beloved country. I do know that troubled times are ahead. I know that the devil rages in the hearts of men, that truth is hard to find and harder to understand. I trust that no matter what this life will bring for me and my children, that we have trusted in Him who is Mighty to Save. He will not abandon us.