Sometimes a caterpillar doesn't make it. We only lost a couple this year. But a tachinid fly (or sometimes a wasp) lays eggs on the caterpillar. Just when the caterpillar hangs into its 'J' shape, ready to transform into the chrysalis, the larvae of the fly crawls out and the caterpillar dies. It's very sad. We try to wrestle with the fact that it's "just" a caterpillar, or that this is a fact of life, but is it really? Paul writes in Romans,
 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.)
(Romans 8:20-22 ESV
So just as the beautiful transformation of these butterflies reflects our transformation into children of God, it also reflects the damage caused by sin. Paul goes on to say,
 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
(Romans 8:23-25 ESV)
It was so fun to watch those chrysalides...they didn't go anywhere, didn't move, didn't show any signs of life. But we watched and waited patiently. Then just a few hours ago they began to show signs of the color changing...it was almost time. This morning when we awoke, they were black, with tiny bits of orange becoming visible. Unlike watching the caterpillar transform into the chrysalis, where there are some signs that it's finally about to happen (contractions strengthening, etc), there were no signs that the caterpillar was about to emerge. Caleb watched faithfully (unfortunately, he did not attend to his morning chores quite so faithfully), and let out a sudden, "Oh Mom, it's cracking open now!" Amazing to watch that butterfly struggle to move from the confines of its transparent little shell. I wish I could catch it on video sometime!
My life is so much like this. Some times it feels like God is working hard on me, but there are no outward changes. I begin to doubt that He is dong anything at all! But the butterfly is a great reminder to wait patiently. I know I have posted this before (maybe with music behind it), but it's worth posting a hundred times...I would love to memorize this just like John Piper. :)