Lesson from a butterfly bush

A Christian Science perspective: On trusting in God’s guidance and provision for each of us.

Every summer as I sit on my back porch, I especially enjoy a large butterfly bush nearby. Its delightful fragrance perfumes the yard, and its periwinkle blossoms, bobbing and floating in the breeze, attract hummingbirds and all kinds of butterflies.

One year a special visitor came. It was a monarch, “king” of the butterflies. You may know of the monarchs’ remarkable feats of long-distance flying. Millions of them travel each year from as far north as eastern Canada to breeding grounds in western central Mexico, with each generation knowing exactly where to go. When I began to consider this delicate creature and its epic migration behavior, I wondered how it had happened to locate my butterfly bush in the suburbs of eastern Massachusetts.

This reminded me of how God, the divine Mind or intelligence of the universe, guides all of His expressions, large and small – including all of us, made in His spiritual image (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Mind is also divine Love (see I John 4:8), which feeds and sustains all. This passage from the Bible came to mind: “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Psalms 145:16). Truly, God is the all-embracing Principle, or creator, governing His vast creation. God’s creatures, spiritually conceived, reflect the divine wisdom, order, and beauty.

Isn’t that also true for each of us – for everyone? Don’t we each have a specially adapted provision and love from the heavenly Father? This spiritual fact means that though our life’s journey may be long, we can know that God supplies the nourishment, sustenance, and provision we need. The great healer and teacher of mankind, Christ Jesus, said, “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?” (Luke 12:24). It may sometimes feel as if we’re still hunting for God’s goodness, or perhaps feel as if we’re searching in vain for signs that God loves us. But we have the right not only to trust in God’s care, but also to understand the spiritual facts that strengthen our trust.

Our faith in God increases through the understanding that God, good, alone is real and powerful. Christian Science has helped me to see how God’s law of good supports all creation, and this truth embraces and undergirds every one of us as we turn to God day by day. In reality, we are divine Love’s own reflection, imaging forth all the goodness and bounty that God Himself includes, just as an object in front of a mirror reflects the original. “God has countless ideas, and they all have one Principle and parentage,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 517).

The outward, material view of things often seems to present scenarios of limitation and lack, of frustration and doubt. But our God-bestowed spiritual sense, which we cultivate through prayer, can pierce through those doubts and limitations and enable us to behold provision, supply, and bounty as fundamentally spiritual and ever present. Jesus, our Master, who once took a few loaves of bread and some fish and multiplied them to feed thousands, said on another occasion to his disciples: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).

This spiritual view, this shift in thought, has a practical effect. It unfolds inspired ideas for human action that bring us into a place of practical provision that blesses us and others as well. Just as that tiny monarch was guided right to where it needed to be in my backyard, divine Love guides each of us aright, tenderly supplies our needs, and brings us to our “butterfly bush,” our rightful harvest. Trusting in God’s law of good and understanding more of our inseparability from our divine source, which happens when we turn wholeheartedly to God, will wing us with inspiration, joy, expectation, and fulfillment.

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