Jesus the Author

My friend sent me a picture of a caterpillar he saw recently. It was to show my youngest daughter and get her to give it a name. I thought she’d love that as we’ve kept caterpillars before many times. She likes watching them grow fat, turn into a cocoon and wants to be there the moment the butterfly emerges all beautiful and transformed.  As this caterpillar was very different to the black ones we’ve had before I tried a quick Google search. My intention was to show her what this caterpillar would become to help her be creative in naming it. So I turn to Google to help identity this bug.

He’s distinctive I thought and wouldn’t take long. However, the only thing I managed to achieve was confirm to my older children that I don’t know how to use Google!! They tell me all the time it’s there for more that just typing in ‘John 4’ or ‘Bread of Life’. They encourage me to ask more, any question, like where to park and Google will have an answer.  That may well be true and asking questions are good but your search is only as good as the question you ask, right? 
Turns out ‘red horny thing’ doesn’t help much with caterpillar identification. (yes I’m that ‘special’)  Shocked, undeterred though and eager to get on track I tried again to investigate the butterfly so we could name it. So with some help I discover said caterpillar isn’t a butterfly in waiting at all but a pale tussock moth.  It had plenty more to say for itself.
I started this year really challenged by ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfector of our faith‘ and I’ve been applying and learning to do that so so much as the months of 2017 tick by.  Fixing my eyes on Him not fixing everything so I know each step of the plan.  I’ve been practicing looking at Jesus solely and wholly instead of the distractions of what I can or cannot do. It’s a challenge that takes trust and surrender. I’ve found that when I want to fix lots I’m  actually saying I’m the author. You know, the story I would write or imagine that would happen. No scratch that, ‘should happen’  probably fits better: I assume I understand what God is doing and HOW He’ll do it. 
 But what about trusting Jesus to write the story He has in mind?  I’ve always taken, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established‘ as permission to ask God to bless what I’ve already decided to do. I’ve come up with a plan and as I’ve dedicated it to Him He’ll bless it and make it succeed. But I realise now that Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the Author transforms that prayer into,
 “Father,  Jesus is the Way and life flows out of Him . Christ is in me so this flesh is His Body. Order my steps so that Jesus can be where He wants, doing what He wants in and through me. Reveal Jesus.”
Enter the caterpillar and he served again as a reminder to me that a story is already written for me to partake in. The point was I’d presumed him a butterfly. My assumptions and questions lead me away from what was present rather that to the fullness of what I was looking at.  I wanted him to be her, a blue butterfly called Mayvis when actually he’s a grey moth. 
Whilst the game I was supposed to be playing was to give it a nickname, it turns out he already had one of those too.  These caterpillars like to eat hop leaves and were often found by the labourers whilst bringing in the harvest. So it’s a harvest moth or called ‘hop dog’ by the farmer’s children. 
I didn’t need to squeeze this caterpillar into my limited assumptions. My questions were distracting and unhelpful and my attempts at naming it was unnecessary.  Everything was already in place. He had His own story to tell without any additional help from me – I simply needed to let him tell it and receive what was already given.
 Can I do that with Jesus?   Can I stop assuming  from all my past experiences of Him that I know? Can I begin again simply looking to Jesus to host and author?
So this little caterpillar took me back to the Emmaus Road with the disciples trying to make sense of their story. But its His story and He tells it so very well. Our perspective, assumptions and questions lead only to flesh. The flesh counts for nothing as Jesus words are Life. By listening more, along with the best question to ask Him to stay restores our sight of the greatest story. That invite meant He hosted the meal and suddenly they recognise Jesus. 
 The challenge I wrote in January still stands
The only challenge is to move from only looking but actually seeing is :-

  • to stop  fitting Him into our ideas and fixing our eyes on Him instead
  • to cease reasoning the information and receive the Person
  • to block our incessant need for judgments of right and wrong and jump into the mystery of God
  • to refrain from analysing our thoughts and accept His actions
 We need to untangle ourselves from the stories we have been telling ourselves and let Him tell the story of who He is – however unconventional or unexpected that may be.
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